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N. B. — Take out carefully, leaving about quarter of an inch 
at the back. To do otherwise would, in some cases, release 
other leaves. 

Novel.) By Berthold Auerbach. New York: 
Henry Holt & Co., 1882. i6mo, pp. 444. (Leisure 
Hour Series, No. 135.) 

SPINOZA. (A Novel.) By Berthold Auerbach. 
New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1882. i6mo., pp. 
444. (Leisure Hour Series, No. 135.) 

FICTION. Spinoza. (A Novel.) By Berthold 
Auerbach. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1882. 
i6mo, pp. 444. (Leisure Hour Series, No. 135.) 


{Leisure Hour Series.) 

ON THE HEIGHTS. 2 vols. 

THE VILLA ON THE RHINE, 2 vols., with Portrait. 



















Author of " On the Heights,^' etc. 


All high things are as difficult 

of attainment, as rare. "—Spinoza 






■ Ai4/M 




A Friday Evening 14 

The Jewish Dominican 26 

The Synagogue 39 


Father and Son 49 

Manuela 55 

Talmud and Latin 101 

Thk Treaty op Peace 1^3 

Thb Cabbalist 144 




The Lucianist 165 

Benedictus Sit 185 

A New Man 200 

Disciples of Descartes 215 

The New Ally 229 

Handicraft 235 

The Unexpressed 255 

Pantheism 268 

Proselytes 295 

Kissing and Dying 311 

Sthx Life 322 





Confessions 338 



Peculiarities 365 

Missionaries 377 

The Excommunication 400 

Wooing by Proxy 413 

Scars and Purification 426 

Epilogue 440 




ON a Friday afternoon at the end of April, 1647, 
in an obscure corner of the Jewish cemetery at 
Oudekerk, near Amsterdam, men were shovelling 
quickly to cover a sunken coffin with earth. 

No mourners stood by. The people present stood 
in groups, and conversed on the events of the day 
or of the life and death of him now given to the 
earth, while the gravediggers hurried over their 
work in silence and indifference ; for already the 
sun sinking in the west showed that it would soon 
be time "to greet the face of the Sabbath." 

At the head of the grave stood a pale youth, who 
watched the brown clods fall into the hole with 
thoughtful looks. With his left hand he uncon- 
sciously plucked the buds from the well-cut beech 

"Young friend," said a stranger to the youth in 
Spanish, "are you the only kinsman here of him 


who rests beneath ? I perceive that you knew him 
well, and could tell me who he is, that he should be 
shovelled over like one plague-stricken without a 
sigh or word of mourning or lamentation. I am a 
stranger — " 

*' I am no more related to him than you," said the 
youth with some hesitation, "in so far as you, \ 
presume, are of the race of Israel. You must in- 
deed be a stranger, and come from distant lands, 
not to have heard of the fate of this unhappy. God- 
forsaken man. Oh ! he was great and glorious, and 
how is he fallen into the depths !" 

" Pray," interrupted the stranger, " do not do as 
the others did whom I asked on turning in here 
from the street; tell me — " 

*'Do you know the family of Da Costa from 
Oporto ?" asked the youth. 

" Who has lived in Spain, and has not been im- 
pressed with the renown of that name? The most 
distinguished of knights bore it. Miguel da Costa, 
after whose death the family disappeared from 
Oporto, was one of the stateliest of the cavaliers, 
whom I saw at the tournament of Lisbon; he was 
once a zealous member of our secret community." 

*'He, who there finds rest at last," began the 
youth, *' was his son, and, as my father often said, 
in figure and bearing the image of his sire. Gabriel, 
as he was named, was practised in all knightly 
exercises, deeply learned, especially in the law. 


Though so early tortured by religious doubts, he 
accepted, in his twenty-fifth year, the office of 
treasurer to the cathedral charities. Then a desire 
awoke in him for the religion of his forefathers, and 
with his mother and brothers he left the land where 
rest the bones of so many slain for our faith, where 
Jews without number kneel, and kiss the pictures, 
which they — " Here the youth suddenly stopped, • 
and listened to the conversation of the diggers at 
the grave. 

" God forgive my sins," said one, " but I maintain 
this knave did not deserve to be buried on a Friday 
evening; because the Sabbath is coming in he is 
freed from the first torments of corruption. If his 
soul gets safe over, he will come to a spread table, 
and have no need to wander in Gehiftom (Hell), for 
on the Sabbath all sinners rest from their torments. 
I told them they should have let him lie till^Sunday 
morning: it was time enough for the fate that await- 
ed him; and at least his death need not have led us 
to make a hole in the Sabbath. Make haste that we' 
may finish." 

*'Ay, ay," responded the other, ''he'll wonder 
when he gets over, and the destroying angel whips 
him with fiery rods; he'll believe then that there 
is another world that he did not see while living. 
Think you not so ?" 

" Pray tell me more," said the stranger. 

" You have heard what they said," answered the 


youth, " and the little man there with a hump on his 
back, who scoffs at him now, enjoyed much of his 
bounty; for his generosity was boundless. Gabriel 
came to Amsterdam, submitted to every precept, 
and entered our faith. Henceforth he bore the 
name of Uriel Acosta. He followed zealously what 
is written: * Thou shalt search therein day and 
night.' I have often been told that it was affecting 
to see how the stately man was not ashamed to be 
instructed in Hebrew or the Holy Scriptures by the 
merest boy. But an unclean spirit entered into him, 
and he began to scoff at our pious Rabbis. You 
have heard here that he was one of those who deny 
the foundations of our faith; he has set down the 
sins of his heart in his writings, and would prove 
them from the Holy Word. Rabbi Solomon de Sil- 
va, our celebrated physician, has refuted his errors. 
Acosta was excommunicated, but freed himself by 
recantation. The contrary spirit in him, however, 
rested not. He not only opposed our holy religion, 
in that, as his own nephew said, he violated the 
Sabbath, and enjoying forbidden meats, and dis- 
suaded two Christians, who would have changed to 
Judaism, but he spoke openly, as a very apostate, 
against all religion. For seven years he refused to 
live according to the precepts of our faith, or under- 
go the penance laid upon him. He* should have 
been laid forever under the greater excommuni- 
cation, and expelled from among our people. On 


the persuasion of his former friend, the pious Rabbi 
Naphthali Pereira, he submitted to the sentence of 
the Beth-Din (the court of Rabbis), and bore all the 
hard penances to which they subjected him. My 
father often said, if Acosta had entered the field in 
defence of our religion he would have cheerfully 
and courageously gone to his death for it, but he 
could not live for it. Domestic disunion, the break- 
ing off of his engagement to a daughter of Josua di 
Leon, disordered his mind entirely. He left as his 
last will the story of his life, wherein he sought to 
justify himself ; if you remain in Amsterdam you 
may hear many other things about him. For a 
long time he had not spoken with any one, contrary 
to his former ways; men took it for repentance, but 
he brooded over new misdeeds. He shunned the 
Rabbi Naphthali Pereira, for he held him to be the 
first cause of his sorrows and misfortunes. Early 
yesterday, as the Rabbi passed Acosta's house on 
his return from the synagogue, the apostate shot at 
the holy man with a pistol. He was once a good 
shot, and renowned for it in his native town ; but 
an angel from heaven must have held his arm, for 
it is wonderful that he did not wound the holy 
man ! He seems to have premeditated the deed, 
for he immediately seized a second loaded pistol, 
and shot himself in the mouth, so that his brains are 
said to have been blown even to the roof. For this, 
therefore, is he now infamous — " 


** Baruch," interrupted a long lank youth who 
now approached them, '' Baruch, come; all is fin- 
ished, and we return home with our master." 

"I am coming, Chisdai," answered Baruch; and 
bowing to the stranger he crossed to where those 
assembled prayed in the Aramaic language for the 
resurrection of the dead and the restoration of 
Jerusalem. On leaving the graveyard each one 
plucked grass three times from the ground, and 
throwing it over his head said the following verse 
in Hebrew: "And they of the city shall flourish like 
grass of the earth" (Ps. Ixxii. ii). Three times, 
in front of the graveyard, each one washed his 
hands in the water brought for the purpose, to 
cleanse himself from the touch of the demons who 
haunt God's acre. While so doing they said the 
verse (Is. xxv. 8), " He will swallow up death in 
victory." Only then could they proceed on their 
homeward way, but even on the road the verses of 
Ps. xc. 15 and Ps. xci. must be three times repeated. 
According to custom, they seated themselves while 
commencing the verses on a stone, or sod; the first 
verse being spoken they renewed their march. 
Thus departed Baruch and Chisdai, with their 
teacher Rabbi Saul Morteira between them. 

"So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord!" 
(Judges V. 31) said Chisdai at last. "On this 
haughty man the judgment of the Lord has declared 
itself in all its might. Thou didst not see his pen- 


ance, Baruch. I hope that mine eyes may never 
see such another. A sinful pity arose in me until I 
perceived with sorrow that men are constrained to 
wield the lash of God. All is fixed in my memory. 
I see the apostate before me as he read out his re- 
cantation in the synagogue, in a white winding- 
sheet, not in his former imperious tone; he carried 
his front less audaciously high: but what good was 
it that he, like the Prophet Isaiah, bowed his head 
like a reed to the wind ? And when they led him to 
the corner, and bound his Samson-like arms to the 
pillar, and bared his broad back — I see it all before 
me as plainly as if it were before these eyes now. 
The Chacham stood near the sexton, and read out 
the verse (Ps. Ixxviii. 38): "But he, being full of 
compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed 
them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger 
away, and did not stir up all his wrath." Three 
times he repeated the thirteen words, and at each 
word the sexton laid his lash on the bare back. Not 
the slightest sign of pain did he give, and when he 
had received the required number, he still lay there 
motionless, his mouth kissing the ground his feet 
had refused to tread. At last he was reclothed and 
led to the entrance of the synagogue: there in the 
doorway he was forced to kneel, the sexton hold- 
ing his head, that each as he went out might set his 
foot on the scarred back, and step over him in his 
way; I made myself heavier as I stepped, that he 


might feel my foot also. I tell thee it is a shame 
that thy father should have taken thee away with 
him just on that day. I saw him, when all the 
rest were gone, rise, and go back into the syna- 
gogue; he tore the holy chest furiously open, and 
gazed long on the scroll of laws, till the sexton 
reminded him to go. "Are the gates of heaven 
again opened to me ?" he asked — and he seemed 
to me to laugh scornfully. He wrapped himself 
in his mantle and sneaked home. The ways of 
God are just ! He has fallen into the pit which 
he digged for others. Thus must all such perish: 
he is lost both here and there." Chisdai glanced 
at his teacher to read in his looks the approval 
of his holy zeal ; he, however, shook his head 
thoughtfully, and repeated the prayer before him 

Baruch had twice opened his mouth to answer 
his schoolfellow, but fearing to express his pity for 
the sinner's fate too warmly, he had remained silent. 
Now when he perceived the displeasure of his 
teacher, he said, " Thou dost not appear to imitate 
the Rabbi Myer's wife," alluding to a narrative in 
the Talmud in which the woman changed the word 
sinner in Ps. civ. 35, " Let the sinners be consumed 
out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more," 
into sins^ and continued, "for there is not a just 
man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not " 
(Ec. vii. 20). 

A CO STA. g 

" I too abominate the teaching that led to the 
perplexities of Uriel — " 

"Name him no more: he is damned," interrupted 
Chisdai; while Baruch continued: 

" He has overthrown even his teachings, since 
it drove him to suicide. While he lived men 
judged him; now he is dead God alone can judge 

The Rabbi nodded to Baruch without saying a 
word, being still busied with the Psalms. 

"But it is written," said Chisdai defiantly (Prov. 
X. 7), '^ ' The name of the wicked shall rot.' " 

The three walked on for some minutes in silence, 
each engrossed by his own thoughts. At last the 
Rabbi broke the stillness, and explained that the 
revealed law admitted of no denial, for God had 
written it with His own hand, and delivered it to 
us all that we might live according to it. 

"Whoever desires to live according to the sug- 
gestions of his reason, denies the necessity of reve- 
lation, denies its truth, and thereby mocks the laws 
that must rule him." 

" There are men," concluded the Rabbi, " who 
say: * Let each think and believe as he can answer it 
to himself.' They are themselves, without knowing 
it, fallen away. We dare not leave any one born 
in our faith to perdition, for it would be our per- 
dition also. If we can bring him with discourse 
to repentance and penance, we sing * Hallelujah! * 

10 . SPINOZA. 

but if he remain obdurate and stubborn, we rend 
our garments; he is dead; he must die, or kill the 
Satan in his heart. We constrain him with all the 
power that God has given us." 

"They constrain him until he says 'I will,'" 
interrupted Chisdai from the Talmud; and the 
Rabbi continued: 

" If we cannot exorcise the lying spirit in him, we 
exterminate him, and his devil also. When words 
no longer reach, the Lord has given us the stone 
wherewith to stone. Let not yourselves be led by 
those who are now soft-hearted over the fate of the 
apostate, and say, 'They should have saved him — 
not driven him so far.' It is well for him that he 
can sin no longer." 

A singular train of thought must have risen in 
Baruch's mind, for he asked after a pause: 

" Where in Holy Scripture is suicide forbidden ?" 

"What a question!" replied the Rabbi peevishly; 
and Chisdai added: 

" It says in the sixth commandment, ' Thou shalt 
do no murder,' without comment, and that means 
neither another nor thyself." 

"You start strange questions to-day," said the 
Rabbi disapprovingly to Baruch. He, however, 
could not explain what disturbed him. The stranger 
had aroused him from deep thought as he stood 
by the grave of the heretic, gazing into the pit 
while they lowered the body in; it seemed to him 


as though his own body were sunk therein, and 
that his spirit wandered complainingly and ques- 
tioningly through the world. Is it the fate of the 
wanderer that he should be pushed over a preci- 
pice ? Who can compel another's mind, who com- 
pel his own, to keep to the path mapped out for 
him ? How unalterable must have been the con- 
victions of him who was there shovelled over, that 
for their sake he should have tried to give death to 
others, and have given death to himself ! Who dare 
judge and condemn in such a case as this ? The 
words of the stranger had broken in on these heavy 
thoughts; the words of the Rabbi on their return 
had awakened his opposition anew, and raised a for- 
gotten memory in the mind of the youth. Years 
before, when he stood for the first time among the 
graves, this grief had disturbed the mind of the 
boy. His uncle, Immanuel, was then buried; long 
an invalid, he had been much with the children, 
and had made them his messengers to the outer 
world. When all the people had left the grave- 
yard, some to school, others to the harbor or ex- 
change, and others to workshops and counting- 
houses, the noise of the city still going on, as if 
nothing had happened, the boy's heart beat fast 
within him as the question arose in it: 

*• How can everything go on so uninterruptedly 
when our uncle is really no longer at home ?" 

For hours the child wept in the empty room of 


the dead man, where the window stood wide open 
as it had never stood before; and he railed at the 
cruel people, who left the sick man lying outside, 
and acted as if they had known no uncle. His 
mother — for he dared not complain to his father 
so — sought to pacify him, and explain that his 
uncle was no longer alone and ill, but well and 
happy above with God and his forefathers and all 
good men. The boy could not understand, and 

'^ Ah! you have not seen them: they have put him 
in a deep pit, and thrown great sods on the box in 
which he was sleeping; he is surely awake and can- 
not get out." His mother strove to explain that, 
only the body was buried; the soul was with God. 
The boy was pacified, but for weeks he thought, in 
storm and rain, "How is it with our uncle in the 
earth?" . . . 

Since then he had stood at the grave of his 
mother, and remembered her consoling words. 
But to-day, at the grave of Acosta, the recollection 
of his uncle's funeral awoke anew. The apostate 
who was here buried had never been free all his 
life long from this pain that made his heart beat so 
fast. How does it happen that children and here- 
tics ask the same questions ? Is it because the one 
knows naught of revelation, and the other rejects it 
wilfully, intending to answer the questions for him- 
self ? Who dare punish for such struggles } 



" Be not righteous over much; neither make thy- 
self over wise: why shouldst thou destroy thyself? 
(Ec. vii. 17,) said Baruch to himself, and was silent. 

When they arrived at the Rabbi's house he re- 
minded his scholars impressively that the morrow 
would be the 6th of Ijar. They separated, each to 
his own home, to change their garments and hasten 
to the synagogue. 

The corn-seed falls on open ground, a sod crum- 
bles and covers it, and no one considers how it 
sprouts and strikes root, thus hidden from human 
eyes. Well may the life of man be likened to such 
hidden growth: its laws are still less revealed; 
only the result can be modified, not the process; 
examination but reveals more and more interrup- 
tions in this growth. 

Again, no fruit grows to perfection except thus : 
the seed-corn must renew the changes of its life; 
must bud and sprout, become stem, foliage, and 
tree, to give seven and a hundred fold of the fruit 
that nourishes life anew. 



THAT evening, in the corner room of the high 
house with the large bow-windows and hand- 
some stucco work that stood on the town wall near 
the synagogue, unusual illumination and splen- 
dor reigned. The silver chandelier in the centre 
of the room, whose rare arabesques were usually 
wrapped in gauze, shone brilliantly in reflection of 
the seven candles that blazed in a circle round it. 
There were many other beauties to illuminate: the 
cushions of the carved chairs were stripped of their 
ordinary gray covers, and revealed the magnificence 
of their silk and gold embroidered flowers and birds 
to the eyes of all beholders, so that hardly a glance 
could be spared for the gorgeous carpet beneath. 
The glittering goblets and glasses stood in regular 
order on the sideboard, and reflected the light in 
varied broken rays. From the stove, a light puff 
of sandalwood smoke arose, and pervaded the 
moderately spacious apartment, in whose midst 
under the chandelier stood a round table covered 
with pink-flowered damask, on which the silver 
pitchers and goblets seemed to give promise of a 



small but jovial company. On the east wall hung 
a picture on gilt parchment, and above it in Hebrew- 
characters was written, " From this side blows the 
breath of Life." A frame brown with age enclosed 
the picture, in whose faded outlines the walls of a 
city were still recognizable, and underneath, in 
Hebrew, the verse, " Then the heathen that are 
left round about you shall know that I, the Lord, 
build the ruined places, and plant that which was 
desolate: I, the Lord, have spoken it, and I will do 
it" (Ezek. xxxvi. 36). It was the ancient city of 
the Lord, Jerusalem; and many eyes, now darkened 
in the bosom of the earth, had rested, with tears of 
grief or longing looks of joy, on this gilded parch- 
ment. There was no other picture on the tapestry- 
decked walls. On the ottoman reclined a youthful 
maiden; her rounded cheek rested on her right 
hand, the fingers were lost to sight in the abun- 
dance of her unbound raven tresses as she thus 
rested; an open prayer-book lay before her, but her 
eyes wandered beyond it into vacancy. 

Was it devotion, was it the thought of God, that 
filled her soul? Was it a beautiful memory that 
rose before her, or dream-pictures of the future that 
entranced her and brought that celestial longing to 
the rosy lips, and doubled the pulsations of her 
heart? Or was it that happy unconscious waking 
dream, that so often surprises the maiden develop- 
ing into womanhood, and raises nameless and un- 


defined longings in her breast ? A Sabbath stillness 
rested on all her fairy-like surroundings. " I be- 
lieve you are tired, Miriam, and no wonder !" said 
a nasal voice as the door opened. 

Miriam sprang up hastily, pushed back her hair 
from her brow, kissed the prayer-book fervently, 
laid it on the window-seat, and quickly smoothed 
the ottoman. 

"Why, what a fright you are in ! Did you think 
a witch was coming ? I may be ugly enough for one, 
it is true; I have not had time to change my dress; 
but that was a piece of work," said old Chaje; and 
indeed her whole appearance verified her descrip- 
tion of herself. A coif smoked by the fire covered 
her gray hair, except where some locks escaped, 
and strayed like cobwebs over her wrinkled face; a 
black streak of soot on her left cheek, and half over 
her nose was remarked upon by Miriam, and Chaje 
tried to wipe it off before the mirror. 

"You were quite right," she continued as she 
wiped her face with her kitchen apron. " You were 
quite right to lie down a little. Why should that 
thing stand there the whole year round and never 
be used ? I wish I could lie down on my bed for 
awhile; I want nothing to eat to-night, I am so 
weary. Ay! When one has been eighteen years in 
one service, one feels the toil does not only wear 
one's clothes out. You would be tired enough if 
you had been ten times up and down, cleaning 


everything yourself and getting a bed ready for the 
strange guest; it is no little to do, but it is all set 
to rights now: he will stare to see it. What a good 
thing it is you bought the fish ! Wine, fish, and 
meat — that the poor man has among the poor every 
Sabbath. Without fish the Sabbath is not rightly 
kept: it says so in the Thora. You are such a 
good housewife, you ought to be married soon; 
you will ask me to the wedding ? Only take care 
not to wed such a little Schlemiehl as your Rebecca 
has. Have you seen how Baruch looks again to- 
day? As if he had been ten years underground. 
I'm afraid — I'm afraid that much learning m«y — 
God forbid it! — injure his health. Day and night, 
nothing but learning, learning, learning; and how 
will it end ? My brother Abraham had a son, who 
was as knowing as Ristotles; he studied so much, 
that at last he quite stupefied himself. But hark! I 
think the service in the synagogue is over. I must 
go; I wouldn't be seen by any decent Jew as I am 
now. They are coming up the steps." Therewith 
Chaje slipped through the door. 

Miriam was glad to be free from the tiresome 
talker. Her father, the stranger, whom we saw in 
the graveyard in conversation with Baruch, and 
Baruch himself entered. Miriam approached her 
father, and bowed before him; he laid both hands 
on her head, and blessed her in a low voice, saying 
these words; " The Lord make thee like the mothers, 

1 8 ■ SPINOZA, 

Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah;" and he also 
blessed Baruch, saying this verse in low tones: 
"The Lord make thee like Ephraim and Manasseh." 
He and Baruch then chanted a short canticle in 
honor of the troop of angels who enter the house 
of a Jew on each Sabbath. The father's voice took 
a melancholy tone, as he sang, wi^h his son, in the 
usual manner, the praise of woman in Prov. xxxi. 
lo: "Who can find a virtuous woman ?" The 
beauty, and even the management of the house, 
were the same as ever; the careful housewife had 
ensured its continuance; but she herself had been 
torn from him by death. Doubly painful was the 
thought of her loss amid Sabbath joys. The stran- 
ger noticed the picture on the wall. 

" Do you recognize it yet, Rodrigo?" said the father 
when he had finished the whispered prayer. " It is 
an old heirloom, and hung once in our cellar syna- 
gogue at Guadalajara; I saved it with much danger." 

While the two friends spoke of their old asso- 
ciations, Baruch and Miriam stood at the opposite 
end of the apartment. 

" You have a dreadfully dismal face again to- 
day," said Miriam, smoothing her brother's hair 
from his brow as she spoke; "come to the mirror 
and see." 

Baruch caught his sister's hand and held it fast; 
he said nothing, but listened to the conversation of 
the men, 



'• It was an instance of divine providence, for 
which I shall ever be thankful, that I recognized 
you directly you passed," said his father to the 

" So you know my son, Baruch, already; this is 
my youngest daughter. How old are you now, 
Miriam ?" 

"Only a year younger than Baruch," answered 
the maiden, blushing. 

"A foolish answer," said her father: "she is four- 
teen, I believe. I have an elder daughter, already 

"Ah, my dears! I have two children also," said 
the stranger. " My Isabella is about your age, 
Miriam; my son will soon be twenty now. I hope 
when my children come here you will take care of 
them, especially in things pertaining to religion, 
for in all such they are wholly inexperienced. 
But stay," continued the stranger as he stood 
with folded arms before Baruch. "When I look at 
Baruch again, I cannot understand how it was I 
did not recognize him in the graveyard: his sin- 
gularly dark complexion, his long, dark, almost 
black eyebrows, are just like yours in your younger 
days, when you meditated some daring adventure 
or other; and this frown on his uneven brow — that 
is just you; but the black wavy hair, and fine-cut 
mouth, with the soft dimple at the corner — ah, 
with what celestial sweetness Manuela smiled with 


those lips ! A certain bold oppositiveness, that 
speaks in the lines of his face, all give him a par- 
tially Moorish look that he has from his mother. 
Ah, if she still lived, what joy it would give her to 
see me here to-day!" 

Baruch listened to this description of tiirhself un- 
willingly, and half in fear. When he heard thus 
of his partially Moorish origin, he recollected that 
Chisdai had taunted him with it in school; he was 
indignant that his father had not imparted it to 
him before. The latter noticed the annoyance of 
bis son, and said to the stranger, 

"You cannot conceal, Rodrigo, that you are a 
pupil of Silva Velasquez, and helped him to point 
out the beauty and ugliness of others to the dames 
of Philip's court. Baruch, you must show this 
gentleman your drawings to-morrow. Do not look 
so timid; nothing has been done to you." 

*' No, no," said the stranger, as he patted the 
boy's cheek, " I hope we shall be good friends. 
Did you not know my cousin, the learned Jacob 
Casseres ?" 

"Not himself," said Baruch, "but I knew his 
book, 'The seven days of the week at the Crea- 
tion.' " 

They then sat down to table, blessed the bread 
and the wine, and inaugurated the Sabbath. 

" It is strange," remarked the host, after grace 
was said: "on other days I can hardly finish the 


last mouthful before I put my lighted cigar in my 
mouth, but on the Sabbath it is as if all our habits 
were changed; I do not desire to smoke, and it 
gives me no annoyance to practise the self-denial." 
The guest gave no response. 

" Bless me," continued the host, " I notice now 
you still keep to our native custom of mixing wine 
with water. If you remain with us in the foggy 
north, where we force land from the sea, and guard 
it each hour; where half the year the earth is stiff, 
and the blue canopy of heaven hidden with clouds; 
where you breathe in mist and vapor, instead of 
clear air; here in our town, springs flow, 
and water for drinking must be brought from a 
distance; where men live as if imprisoned by the 
sea; where the climate itself compels men to be 
tranquil and com.posed, and the foresight and 
patience which have made the land, and still hold 
it, are the prime virtues of mankind: remain here, 
I say, and believe me, you will soon conform to our 
custom, and pour pure grape blood into your old 
veins to make yours circulate the faster. Ah, it is 
a glorious and precious country, our Spain ! Our 
Eden inhabited by devils. Now when I must so 
soon lay my weary head in the bosom of the earth, I 
feel for the first time that it is not my native land 
that will receive me." 

"You are unjust," replied the stranger. "You 
here sit at your table without fear: there your 


friend and your own child might be forced to con- 
fess with a heavy heart that you secretly worshipped 
the God of Israel; and the glow of a funeral pile 
might warm your old veins instead of this costly 
wine. You may drsam now of the pleasures of 
your native land, and forget the terrible death that 
stared us in the face ! The glorious chestnut woods 
with their cool dark shade could not invite us to 
rest, or the rich forests to the chase; on the morrow 
those trees might be our fagots; on the morrow we 
might be the hunter's prey. In truth, when I hear 
you speak so, I could join with those zealots who 
ascribe our afflictions to excessive love of our native 
land, too great pride and gratification in the respect 
we had won there." 

"Yes, yes, you are right," answered his host; 
"but let us not disturb the joy of our reunion with 
dismal reflections. Come, drink ! But stay ! Mir- 
iam, bring the Venetian goblets here; and let Elsje 
light you to the cellar, and bring the two flasks 
that De Castro sent me." 

"Brilliant!" exclaimed the stranger as he raised 
the glass of newly poured out wine to his lips; 
" that is real Val de Pefias; where did it come from?" 

" As I said, Ramiro de Castro sent it to me from 
Hamburg. The wine has improved with us, but 
now it grows more fiery; and we — !" 

"Well, well, we have lived; be content. The 
wine awakes the long-extinguished fire in me. Dost 



thou remember yet? Such wine we drank that 
evening in the Posada near the House of Donna 
Ines, who had already made thee wait two even- 
ings in vain. You struck the table, and swore 
never to see her again; yet the next evening in the 
silent Arbor it was * dear Alfonso ' and * dear Ines ' 
again. Ha ! ha ! ha !" 

The father warned his friend of the presence of 
the children; the stranger took little notice, however, 
and revelled in the wine of his native land. 

" Do you remember that heavenly summer even- 
ing?" he continued, "when we sauntered on the 
Alameda in Guadalaxara? I see you now, when the 
bells tolled nine, and every one stood still as if 
by magic to pray a Pater Noster. I see you stand- 
ing before me: how you crushed your hat in your 
hands! Your eyes flashed fire as though they would 
set the whole world in flames. Donna Ines not ex- 
cepted. You were a dangerous cavalier." 

" By G — ," continued the stranger, after he had 
taken another pull at the wine. " The sweat still 
stands on my brow when I think how we stood 
once in Toledo before the church of 'Our Lady del 
Transito.' * Do you see,' you said, gnashing your 
teeth, * that splendid building was once the syna- 
gogue of our fathers. Samuel Levi, who built it, 
hangs rotting on the gallows, and now — ' It was a 
real wonder that, in spite of thy audacity, we got 
away with whole heads." 


Thus the two old friends renewed the memories 
of their youth. For an hour they lived a life of 
pleasure and youthful fire. 

" I cannot understand," said Baruch once, " how 
a man could be happy for a moment in such a 
land, where he would perpetually see scorn, shame, 
and death before him." 

" You are too young," said the stranger. " Believe 
me, if men watched your lightest breath, there are 
hours, yea days, when you can be happy, and for- 
get everything. If men repulse you with scorn, 
and push you and yours aside into the mud, there 
is a holy of holies, wherein no earthly power enters: 
it is your own consciousness, union with your own 
faithful circle; the heaven that there surrounds us 
no man can take from us; not even the ever present 
horror of death. 

" All these afflictions have passed over us, and yet 
we were happy." 

"But the incessant discord in the soul ? Chris- 
tian before the world, and Jew at heart ?" 

" That was our misfortune, that I witnessed in 
your uncle Geronimo." 

" Why does he not leave his dreary hermitage^ 
and come to us ?" inquired Baruch. 

" He has left his hermitage, and we shall go to 
him: he is dead. Boy, these sad experiences you 
should have lived through; it would do you good 
your whole life long." 


Baruch had risen from his seat, and repeated the 
verse appointed to be said on hearing of a death: 

" Praised be Thou, O Lord our God, King of the 
World, and Righteous Judge!" 

" Tell us of it, I pray you," he added; and Miriam 
too approached the table, and joined in her brother's 

'' It is the Sabbath, and I ought not to do it," 
said the stranger; "but as you ask it, so let it be. 
It was his death that decided me to save myself 
and all dear to me from such a lie." 



RODRIGO CASSERES took another long 
draught from his tall goblet, and began his 

"About eight months ago I received a letter from 
Seville through Philip Capsoli; I was horrified 
when I read the address, ^ To Daniel Casseres in 
Guadalaxara.' It could only be some thoughtless 
Jew who would address me by my Hebrew name. 
How I trembled at the contents ! ' Daniel, Man of 
Pleasure,' it said, ' the day of vengeance and death 
is at hand, and I must die among the Philistines. 
Would you ask how it feels to be roasted ? Come 
to me; I am watched by the holy police. In the 
name of the High God, by the ashes of our mur- 
dered brothers and sisters, I conjure you come to 
thy dying Geronimo de Espinosa.' There could be 
no doubt that Geronimo himself had written the 
letter; the fine straight line under the signature, a 
sign of the worship of the one true God, showed 
me that plainly, even if I had failed to recognize 
the trembling handwriting. 

"When I told my children of my intention to 


travel to Seville, I was weak enough to be deterred 
from its fulfilment by their prayers and tears. I 
had almost forgotten poor Geronimo, when a dread- 
ful dream reminded me of him, and the next day I 
set out on my journey. 

" I parted from my children with a beating heart, 
telling them I was going to my sister in Cordova. 
I travelled swiftly through Cordova, and passed my 
sister's house unnoticed; I could neither stop nor 
rest; it was as if an unseen hand drew me irresisti- 
bly onward. I arrived at Seville. The clock struck 
the hour as I mounted the hill. * There you dwell, 
my brilliant Geronimo,' I said to myself, * and turn 
your footsteps to the Chapel, with prayer on your 
lips and scorn in your heart. Is it not a tempting 
of Providence for you, at heart a Jew, to venture 
your person in the councils of the Inquisition, 
even to help your brethren ? ' I entered the chapel, 
and knelt till the mass was ended. I then arose, 
and looked round among the stout or ascetic 
devotees again, but in none could I recognize Ge- 

" I questioned a familiar; he said Geronimo had 
lain for weeks between life and death, and talked 
continually of Daniel in the lions' den. He led 
me to his cell. The invalid slept, with averted 
face; nothing was to be seen but the tonsured 
crown. A crucifix hung over the bed, and a friar 
sat praying beside him; he signed to me to enter 


softly. Only the slight breathing of the sick matt 
and a light whisper of prayer spoke of life in this 
grave-like stillness. 

"At last the sick man rose; I did not recognize 
him: he had deep-set eyes, hollow cheeks, blue 
lips, overhung by a long flowing white beard. Ge- 
ronimo's appearance could not be so altered. He 
recognized me, however, immediately; and softly, 
with hardly a movement of his lips, said, ' Are you 
there, Daniel ? It is well that you do not desert 
me; you need not be afraid; you too are in the 
lions* den; but God will help you to get out, as he 
did the prophet in Babylon; only from me they have 
sucked the blood and the life: I cannot get out. 
In truth, you will not leave me ?' 

" I had feared that the momentary joy of reunion 
might have hastened his death. I could hardly 
understand him when he acted as if we had been 
long together, as if we had never been parted. He 
signed to the brother praying beside him, who took 
his book under his arm and went out. As he went 
he whispered in my ear that I could ring if I re- 
quired aid. 

"'Has he gone ?' then said Geronimo. 'Come 
quick: give me the pitch-smeared hoops you carry 
under your mantle; I will hide them in my bed. To- 
night when they all sleep we will burn the nest over 
their heads: that will be a joyful sacrifice; the 
angels in heaven will laugh to see it; I am bound, 


I cannot get out. It must be kindled at all four 
sides at once; we must be quick, or the Guadal- 
quivir itself will rise from its bed and extinguish 
the flames on the- mount; they have it .in pay. 
Help me ! the water takes my life. Lord God ! I 
have sinned, I have denied Thy holy name. Once 
Thou showedst Thyself in wonders; send down Thy 
lightnings, that they may destroy me — me also, me 
first. I have sinned, destroy me ! ' 

" He spoke quickly, and beat his breast with his 
bony fists till it resounded; I could not restrain 
him. He sank back almost breathless; I feared 
that he would die then, and would have rung the 
bell, but he rose again, and said, weeping, 

"* Come, give me your hand; it is pure — pure 
from the blood of your brethren: it was at the sug- 
gestion of Satan that I, a worm, tried to gnaw 
through this giant tree. I do penance for my 
pride; I have denied my God. I die useless, as I 
have lived useless. Do you not see my father 
there ? He comes to help us. Have you pitched 
rings enough. Father ? Do you hear the prisoners 
beneath singing Hallelujah? Ah, it is a beautiful 
song: Hallelujah, Hallelu El ! We free you; you 
dare die. Do not look so reproachful; I am not in 
fault ! ' 

"He sank back again, and stared at me with 
unearthly glassy eyes. I prayed him, for God's 
sake and our own, to be quiet: I told him how I 



had come in obedience to his letter; he should be 
at peace, since he had saved many lives, and God 
would be merciful, and look only at the heart. 

" Then, in perfect consciousness, he spoke to me 
of his approaching death, and how rejoiced he was 
at the thought thereof. A flood of tears relieved his 
mind of its heavy load: then suddenly all was fear- 
ful confusion again; he called for consecrated water 
to soften his pain on his heart, that burnt like hot 
iron. * Drink also,-' he said to me, ' the holy father 
has blessed it. Bless me ! Father, it is the Sab- 
bath. Where is Mother ? Still below in the cellar of 
the synagogue. Mother, rise; it is I, thy Moses.' 

" So he talked, and I was dizzy to think of the 
abyss before which I stood. 

" Evening came, and Geronimo thought men came 
to put him in a dark prison, and stretch him on the 
rack; groaning painfully, and with an almost dying 
voice, he cried continually, * I am no Jew, I do not 
know where there are hidden Jews. Daniel, do not 
forsake me; do not forsake me, Daniel ! * At last 
he slept again. It was night; the full moon shone 
through the window and shed its silver light over 
the sick man. I prepared for death, since every 
word of our conversation, if overheard, would have 
brought me to a martyr's death; by good luck, how- 
ever, almost the whole order was employed in a 
search for Lutherans in the town. I prayed to God 
to have pity on Geronimo, and send him death. 


Children, it is terrible to pray for the death of a 
man, and that man the friend of your youth. But 
why should this soul undergo a longer martyrdom ? 
It was, however, otherwise ordained; I must experi- 
ence yet more terrible moments. 

"I sat there, sunk in troubled thought, when a 
familiar entered, and ordered me to come to the 
Inquisitor. My heart beat loudly as I entered his 
presence; I threw myself on my knees, and asked 
his blessing. He gave it me, and said: 'You are a 
friend of Geronimo. In that you are a good Chris- 
tian ' — and here he gave me a piercing look — 'take 
care that Geronimo is obstinate no longer, but 
takes the Sacrament once more before he dies; en- 
deavor to do this, and let me know immediately ; 
he must not die thus.' 

" I returned to the sick man's cell; he still slept; 
I bent softly over him; he awoke. 

"'Come,' he said, rising hastily, 'now is the time. 
Look ! Gideon with his three hundred men come 
also; they carry the fire-filled pitchers into the 
camp of the Midianites. Hush ! be still ! do not 
blow the trumpets yet. Let us celebrate High 
Mass.' He folded his hands, and crossed himself 
three times. I prayed, I implored him, I wept for 
fear, and conjured him to be quiet. I spoke to him 
of our childhood's days, and how he himself now 
would murder me, if he did not take the Sacrament. 

<< < VVhy do they not give it me ?' he said quietly. 


'■ I am a priest; come, wash my hands; I am unclean; 
then I will receive it.' 

" I went to the Inquisitor and told him that Ge- 
ronimo, though still confused, himself desired the 
Sacrament. The Inquisitor assembled the whole 
order, and as they carried the Elements along the 
long corridor, singing the Requiem in the echoing 
hall, Geronimo sang loudly with them, and even 
when it was ended he sang the deprofundis clamavi 
in a piercing voice with folded hands; then he tore 
his hands asunder, covered his head with them, and 
sangthe Hebrew words: 'Holy! Holy! Holy! Adonaj 
Zebaoth ! (Jehovah, Lord of Hosts !) Ave Maria 
gratia plena' he said in the same mechanical tone. 
The Inquisitor used the moment to pass the Host 
to him; he devoured it, as if famishing. 

" 'The cup ! the cup ! ' he cried, 'lam a priest.' 
The Inquisitor handed him the cup, he clasped, both 
hands round it, and began the Jewish Sabbath 
blessing over it ; then raising himself in bed with 
all his strength, he stood in the full length of his 
trembling figure, and cried: "On, Gideon! shatter 
the pitchers ! Fire ! Fire ! ' he put the cup to his 
lips, threw it at the wall, so that it shivered to 
atoms, sank down, and was — dead." 

The stranger covered his eyes with his hand, and 
stood up, when he had said these words. No one 
uttered a syllable, for who could enter into the 
unutterable emotions of this soul ? Each one feared 


by a sound or a sigh to distyrb the deep emotion 
of the other. It was the silence of death. Outside 
something tapped as with ghostly fingers on .the 
panes; all started; the stranger opened the window; 
nothing was to be seen. He sat down again at the 
table, and continued: 

** I had sunk down almost unconscious at the 
bedside of Geronimo; the cup with the spilt wine 
lay near me on the floor. I did not venture to rise, 
for fear my first glance should read my fate. 

"'Rise,' said a harsh voice near me. I rose; the 
Inquisitor stood before me, not another monk was 

"'What is your name ?' he asked me sternly. I 
was in painful uncertainty; should I give my real 
name, or not ? but perhaps he had already seen it, 
and a lie would make my death doubly certain. I 
told the truth; he asked for a guarantee. 

"'No one knows me here,' I answered, 'but my 
brother-in-law, Don Juan Malveda in Cordova; he 
can bear me witness that the Casseres, in whose 
house at Segovia the first sitting of the Inquisition 
was held, was my ancestor.' I yet wonder at the 
courage with which I spoke to the Inquisitor in 
this decisive moment. ' Swear to me,' he said after 
a long and painful pause. ' No, swear not, but if 
you let one syllable of what you have seen here 
pass your lips, you and your two children die 
the death by fire. You are in my power; I hold 



you in unseen bonds, from which you cannot run 

" He then ordered a familiar to conduct me from 
the Castle. 

'^ If we take the history of the prophet Jonah lit- 
erally, his feelings must have been like mine when 
he was thrown out by the sea monster. I thought 
I continually heard the dreadful Requiem, though 
all around was as still as death. Everything looked 
so unearthly, so strange; every bush that trembled 
in the moonlight seemed to beckon to me to has- 
ten on. 

^' I was hardly capable of thought, through wear- 
iness and fear; and nowhere in that wide country 
was there a soul in whom I could trust. 

"I looked up at the myriad host of stars; their 
celestial light shone comfortingly on my heart. God, 
the God of Hosts, watched over me; my whole soul 
was a prayer; He answered it. 

" I reached my inn, saddled my horse, and rode 
as on the wings of the wind. 

" The moon disappeared behind clouds, and only 
the pale light of stars, shone on my lonely path. 
The horse seemed as if he too were driven by an 
unseen lash; he rushed irresistibly over hill and 
dale, and snorted with fear. Perhaps, thought I, 
the soul of some grim enemy of the Jews, perhaps 
that of a dead Grand Inquisitor, has entered this 
animal, and is now condemned to bear me through 


the night and save me from my enemies. Often, 
when he turned his head and looked at me with 
his fiery eyes, it seemed to say to me, ' Do I not 
suffer enough for my earlier life ? ' 

" I feared even my own shadow that danced over 
rock and stone, and I drove the sharp spurs still 
harder into the ribs of my steed. 

" You, who have grown up and lived in freedom, 
you cannot know what a confusion is life in such 
moments; the earth is no longer firm, the heavens 
disappear, and whatever has been heard of the fear- 
ful and supernatural awakes anew. Anything super- 
natural, if it appeared, would be regarded without 
astonishment, for everything has become supernat- 
ural, incomprehensible, our own life most of all. 
Wearied out, I arrived at my sister's in Cordova, 
and first imparted to her the terrible fear that 
hardly let me breathe freely. 

" When I went to my horse next morning in his 
stall, he lay dead; his great eyes gazed at me as 
strangely as on the previous evening. 

" With a fresh Andalusian horse of my brother- 
in-law's I set forward on my journey. I took leave 
of my sister, but durst not tell her that I saw her 
for the last time. 

" When I arrived at home the old rest and tran- 
quillity had disappeared from the house. In each 
friend who bade me heartily welcome, in each 
stranger whom I saw in the streets, I imagined a 


messenger from the band of murderers who called 
themselves a tribunal. Each one, I thought, would 
throw back his mantle and disclose the blood-red I 
on his breast. The old freedom from care had dis- 
appeared; I knew only fear and mistrust. Waking 
and sleeping, the figure of Geronimo was before 
me; 'you too, you too,' it said to me, 'may die such 
a death; deserted by the faith that was a plaything 
of thy cowardice; tossed hopelessly betwixt truth 
and lies.' I sold all my goods, and not without 
great danger — for you know no one is allowed to 
leave Spain without special permission from the 
king — was with God's help free. I sent my children 
out of the country by different ways; they have 
remained in Leyden. If God preserves my life, I 
will bring them here next week. If I should relate 
all that I suffered till I arrived here, it would keep 
us till the morrow, and I should not have told a 
tenth part; but it is already late, and if it pleases 
God, we shall remain longer together." 

" Yes, the lights are already burnt out, and to- 
morrow is the sixth lyar; we must rise early, so we 
will, in God's name, retire." So spake the father, 
and they all parted. 

Pleasant as a Jewish house is on Friday evening 
in the festive hour, as weird and strange is it at the 
time of separation. The seven lights burn alone 
in the empty sitting-room, and it is a strange sen- 
sation to imagine it as light after light burns out; 


for the law forbids a light to be extinguished or lit 
on the Sabbath, or taken in the hand. 

In the corner house on the wall, each one went to 
rest in darkness, and each one was followed by some 
figure of terror from the narrative of the stranger 
guest. Old Chaje had already been long asleep, 
and dreamt of Miriam's wedding, and what an im- 
portant part she would play therein, when her com- 
panion in the apartment, Miriam, entered and awoke 
her with a cry and a shake. " What is the matter ? 
what is it ?" said Chaje, rubbing her eyes. 

" You snored so, and talked in your sleep, that I 
was frightened," replied Miriam. It was, in truth, 
another fear that made her a disturber of sleep. 
In the thick darkness she expected the spirit of her 
uncle to glide before her each moment, and wished 
to banish the fear by conversation. Chaje related 
her dream, and what a pity it was that she had been 
awakened; her mouth watered yet for the good 
things that she had enjoyed at the wedding; she had 
been seated near the bridegroom, with her gold 
chain and her red silk dress on. 

" You may laugh," said she, " for what one dreams 
on Friday night comes as certainly true as that it is 
now Sabbath all over the world." 

Miriam was glad to find Chaje so talkative, her 
ghostly fears began to fade. " What did my bride- 
groom look like ?" she asked, as she laid her head 
on the pillow. But that Chaje unluckily did not 



know; what he wore, and what he said to her, she 
could tell to a hair. She talked long after Miriam 
was asleep. It could not be ghosts of which she 
was dreaming, for when she awoke in the morning 
she drew the coverlet over her, shut her eyes, and 
tried to dream again. 

Baruch did not awake so pleasantly. He too went 
to his chamber with a beating heart. It was not 
the ghost of his uncle that appeared to him in the 
darkness, but yet he was present to his thoughts. 
A restless spirit filled him with horror, and op- 
pressed his soul. With a loud voice, and out of the 
depth of his heart, Baruch said the evening prayer, 
and laid emphasis on the conjuration, which he 
thrice repeated. " In the name of Adonaj (Jehovah), 
the God of Israel, with Michael on the right, with 
Gabriel on the left, before me Uriel, behind me 
Raphael, and at my head Schechinath-El (the Holy 
Ghost)" — he hid his face in the pillow, closed his 
eyes, but it was long before sleep settled on them; 
he was too deeply agitated. He had slept but a 
few hours when his father woke him from a feverish 
dream, for it was time to go to the synagogue. 




ALIGHT mist Still hung over the streets of Am- 
sterdam; the golden letters of the words ^pj;** 
n'«:^ (the House of Jacob) over the door of the 
synagogue on the town wall shone but dimly, but 
already a great many men and women crowded 
through the seven columns that adorned the vesti- 
bule of the synagogue. Baruch, his father, and 
the stranger were there. On entering the inner 
door, each stepped before one of the two huge 
marble basins that stood beside each door-post, 
turned on the brass tap and washed his hands. 
Baruch observed the rule of the Talmud, to wash 
the right hand first. Then they descended the 
three steps. Every synagogue must be below 
ground, for it is written: "Out of the depths have 
I cried unto thee, O Lord!" (Ps. cxxx. i.) Each one 
of those present placed over his shoulders a large 
woollen cloth, with three blue stripes at the ends, 
and tassels hanging from the four corners; the most 
pious, Baruch among them, covered their hats with 
it. " How lovely are thy tents, O Jacob! thy dwell- 
ings, O Israel!'* sang a well-trained choir of boys; 
and here these words did not sound ironical, for the 


simply built interior of the building was beautifully 
ornamented. At the upper end, on the side towards 
the east, where once the holy temple of Jerusalem 
stood, towards which the Jew turns to pray, the 
tables on which were engraved the ten command- 
ments were supported by two stone lions. They 
stood above the sacred ark, and around it, in a half 
circle, almond and lemon trees bloomed in orna- 
mental pots. For yearly, since they had been driven 
out of their Spanish home, they sent to the Catholic 
Peninsula for trees planted in the earth from which 
they had sprung, wherewith to decorate the syna- 
gogue, that for some few hours they might dream 
themselves back into the well-known plains. 

The long opening prayer, spoken aloud by the 
choir-leader, gave all leisure enough for observa- 
tion; but when at last the "Statutes of Israel" 
(Deut. vi. 5) began, all joined in with a loud voice. 
It was by no means harmonious; the whole build- 
ing echoed with the wild war-cry, — for what was it 
but a war-cry, with which they had conquered life 
and death a thousand times ? — " Hear, O Israel ! 
The Lord our God is one Lord !" The soul of each 
would enter by force the impenetrable first cause of 
the existence of God. Baruch, too, closed his eye- 
lids fast, and clasped his hands, his nerves thrilling 
in ecstasy, his whole consciousness, with its long- 
ings towards that other world, drawn upward to 
the rays concentrated in that one point of light 



where it found itself in God. With upturned 
glance, as in the writings of the wise of old, he saw 
all the dangers of the waters of death before his 
eyes, that he would so readily have gone through 
for his faith in the unity of his God. His whole 
soul, thus elevated, felt refreshed as with heavenly 

The first prayer was ended; the folding doors of 
the sacred ark were opened on a glistening array 
of rolls of the law bound in cloth of gold, and 
ornamented with gold plate and jewels, that drew 
all eyes to the holy place, where the three most 
prominent men of the congregation read alternately 
the names of the towns and lands in which faith- 
ful Jews had suffered a martyr's death; the most 
worthy of these martyrs were enumerated and read 
out at the conclusion of the death-roll of the pre- 
ceding year. Rachel Spinoza was among the first 
of these; her name was said with a blessing, and 
the pious legacies mentioned, which she had left 
for prizes in the Talmud school, " Crown of the 
Law." Baruch looked sadly at his father; for with 
the sacred memory of his mother was mingled the 
enigmatical mention of her Moorish origin. 

The sacred ark was again closed, and Rabbi 
Isaak Aboab advanced to the altar in the midst of 
the synagogue. He was a thin little man, marked 
with small-pox, with a high forehead and prominent 
gray eyes, and a red beard on cheek and chin. 


"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the 
shadow of death, I will fear no evil': for thou art 
with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me" 
(Ps. xxiii. 3), he repeated in a harsh voice. The 
corresponding text was added from the Talmud; 
and further, this choice explanation of the expres- 
sion "thy rod and thy staff," that by "rod" the 
written and by " staff " the spoken law was under- 
stood. The preacher then descended to his audi- 
ence: " The living buried in a dungeon bemoans his 
life; the unkempt hair of his head is his only pillow; 
whether it be day or night, whether spring blos- 
soms, or the autumn winds pluck the yellow leaves 
from the trees, he knows not; dust and darkness 
surround him, but in his heart are light and joyous 
day, for God dwells therein. In his loneliness an 
innumerable host of angels hover round him, who 
bear him away out of the hard prison-walls, far 
away, over the world to the throne of God, where 
he rests in prayer." 

All the grades of torture the Rabbi described to 
his hearers, to the most extreme degree, when by 
dropping of water on the top of the spine the 
nerves of the brain itself are weakened. 

"Woe!" he cried; "our eyes have seen the in- 
describable afflictions with which the Lord menaces 
us. No. Let us not cry Woe, but Praise and 
Thanks to Him who has lifted them all to a pas- 
turage in the glorious light of His Majesty!" The 



translator of Erira's " Doors of Heaven" here de- 
scribed the joys of everlasting felicity in all their 
exceeding glory, and praised that doctrine before 
which the angels bow themselves, and the Uni- 
verse trembles; he described that absorption of 
self in the teachings of God and his creation, which, 
to him whose inmost heart is so absorbed, gives 
heavenly blessedness even here, and lends power to 
create and to destroy. With the usual conclusion, 
that God would soon send his Messiah, and restore 
Israel to his inheritance, he finished his discourse. 

Rabbi Saul Morteira, whose tall, well-covered per- 
son we have already encountered on the previous 
day, advanced next to the altar. " He will swallow 
up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe 
away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his 
people shall he take away from off all the earth" 
(Is. XXV. 8), he began in a low voice. " I look round 
on this assembly, and again a year has thinned its 
ranks; another year will come, and with it this day 
of mourning and of rejoicing; and many of us will 
then have vanished from our places; perhaps I 
also ! * I also, O Lord ! here am I,' I answer, if thou 
callest to me." With these words the Rabbi beat 
his breast with both hands till his voice trembled. 
He spoke at greater length on the suddenness of 
death, and the grief of the survivors; half-stifled 
sobs were heard from the trellised gallery of the 
women, and here and there among the men; only 


a few, who thought a funeral oration on the Sab- 
bath unlawful, remained unmoved. 

Baruch, too, stood with tears shining in his eyes 
— tears of longing; he felt God to be so near, so 
familiar, that he wished to die, and never more to 
be separated from him. " Check the sigh that would 
raise thy breast, for God the Lord wipes the tear 
from every eye," cried the Rabbi. From the appli- 
cation of his text to the fate of the individual he 
turned to that of Israel. 

" For the Lord will wipe the disgrace of his peo- 
ple from off the face of the earth; but only those 
who have guarded his word in their hearts dare de- 
mand the fulfilment of his promise." The preacher 
added to these words an ingenious but plain and 
sharp argument against Christianity. With bitter 
zeal he railed against the subtilizing intellect of 
man, that aspired even to explain the immeasur- 

" In the Talmud tractate Chulin it is related that 
*the Emperor Hadrian desired once of Rabbi 
Jehosuah that he should show him the Uncreated 
One, or else he would esteem his learning and faith 
as naught. It was a hot summer-day; the Rabbi 
led the Emperor out into the open air. * Look at 
the sun,' he said to the Prince. *I cannot,' he re- 
plied; ' it dazzles my eyes.' * Son of Dust ! ' said the 
Rabbi, 'the rays of one single creation thou canst 
not endure; how couldst thou see the Creator?'" 


So spake the preacher, and concluded his par- 
ables from the Talmud with the one (well known 
to readers of the New Testament, here slightly- 
altered) on the laborers in the vineyard, and the 
one of those prudent and foolish ones who awaited 
the coming of the Saviour. He mingled amusing 
anecdotes with his sermon, raising thereby an in- 
voluntary laugh among his audience. The church 
and its servants did not then stand in their present 
frosty and oracular relation to the lay members. 
The Jewish Church especially, which both could 
and must offer all things to all men, did not re- 
frain from godly jokes. An amused expression of 
interest spread over the faces of all when the Rabbi 
concluded; here and there men turned to their 
neighbors, and gave vent to their approval by gest- 
ures or exclamations. There are some Jews not 
sufficiently objective to abstract their attention 
from self enough to measure everything, even the 
words of their teacher, by the measure of the re- 
vealed law or their own reason. To these, there- 
fore, it was no pleasure to hear yet another dis- 
course; for now a man of compact figure and 
polished worldly address had taken the deserted 
place of Rabbi Saul Morteira. 

It was that man of incomparable precocity and 
universality of genius, who, already a Rabbi in his 
eighteenth year, afterwards physician and states- 
man, had entered into controversy with Hugo 


Grotius on the beauties of the Idyllic poetry of 
Theocritus, and with Rabbi Isaak Aboab on the 
mixture of metals in the image of Nebuchadnezzar. 
It was Rabbi Manasseh ben Israel, whose wife, a 
grand-daughter of the renowned Don Isaak Abra- 
banel, derived her lineage in direct line from David, 
King of Israel. 

For some seconds Rabbi Manasseh covered his 
eyes with his left hand, then began with a powerful 
voice that reached all corners of the synagogue: 

" 'O house of Jacob ! come ye, and let us walk in 
the light of the Lord.' The day is again returned 
on which we consecrated this house that we built 
unto the Lord, for He allowed us here to find a 
refuge from the hands of our persecutors; but not 
by the strength of our hands have we obtained it. 
If God build not the house, vain is the toil of the 
laborer. We have built a house here unto the 
Lord; oh that the walls would expand and rise, as 
far as the heavens are stretched above the earth; 
and that my voice would fill the whole world, that 
I might awake the echoes with thunders, and lay 
in their mouths these words, that one echo might 
call them unto another. ^ O house of Jacob ! come 
ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord ' (Is. 
ii. 5). I myself, you all know, I had an enlightened 
father; he suffered martyrdom, and saved naught 
but bare life from the hands of those who call 
themselves Christians: but let us not look back 



into the dim dungeon, but gaze on the light that 
streams on us from all quarters." 

The author of the book on the " Salvation of Is- 
rael" continued in spirited language, though often 
in ambiguous and superfine phraseology, his ad- 
dress on the necessity that the JeWs should join in 
the universal striving towards the higher develop- 
ment of the age. By the " Light of the Lord" he 
understood the classics not less than the teachings 
of Moses. ( He railed against the Polish Jews, 
whose obscure customs and debased position he 
ascribed principally to their want of solid learning; 
at last he rejoiced his hearers with an *' Amen.'l 

A roll of the law was then taken from the ark 
amid songs of praise. When it was handed to 
Baruch, he took the edge of the cloth of gold in 
which it was wrapped, and pressed it fervently to 
his lips. 

The Thora was unrolled on the altar, and at 
each extract that was read out one of the three 
preachers was called upon to say the blessing 

At the fourth extract the reader raised his voice 
and cried: " Rise, our teacher and master, Rabbi 
Baruch Ben Benjamin !" Baruch Spinoza, who 
was called to the Thora by this title of honor, was 
fiery red; he left his seat and repaired to the altar, 
where he read the blessing in a trembling voice. 
Every one in the synagogue wondered at so un- 


precedented a case as for a youth of fifteen to 
attain to such an honor; a few only there were 
who thought it misplaced, for Baruch was beloved 
of all who knew him. With the long, so-called 
Mussaph (additional prayer) and some concluding 
prayers the service was ended. 



AT the door the throng was great. Every one 
congratulated Baruch and his father on the 
honor that had befallen them. 

" Certainly," said the father to his son on their 
homeward way, " the discourses have lasted over 
long to-day; the preachers should consider that 
they preach to empty stomachs (for no one must 
taste food before morning service). Let it be a 
warning to you never to preach too long. Are you 
pleased ?" 

"I am confused," answered Baruch, "with my 
rise to such a height; I am too weak." 

"God keep you in that mind,'* said his father 
approvingly. " Well-balanced natures are easily 
abashed at the honors assigned to them. Trust 
in God who has chosen you out; he will give you 
strength to fulfil your vocation; only say to your- 
self you are chosen for it, because you have the 
strength to fulfil it." 

On the threshold of their home, the father, as 
on the previous evening, laid his hands on his son's 



head, and blessed him thus: "The Lord make thee 
like unto Ephraim and Manasseh." 

Miriam stood on the step, and gave Baruch a 
parchment that Rabbi Saul Morteira had sent. It 
was his diploma as Rabbi. 

The father then opened his plate chest, and chose 
out his heaviest gilt goblet, to send it to the teacher 
some other day. 

Baruch from that time was qualified to prefix the 
title of Rabbi to his name. 

He felt a strange shock whenever visitors ad- 
dressed him by the title: it seemed to him as if he 
wore an unseen crown on. his head. Soon, how^ 
ever, this exaltation of mind was disturbed by inner 
confusion, that henceforth augmented with ever 
increasing force. 

Baruch now belonged to the qualified guardians 
of the law; and it was not mere modesty when he 
protested to his congratulators that he felt too 
weak for the burden imposed on him. Was it the 
shiver of weakness that overtakes those who have 
attained the goal long earnestly striven for t 

What jealous demons would raise such inward 
doubts ? Formerly they made themselves known 
but fleetingly, and were easily conquered; but now 
new ones too, unthought of before, forced them- 
selves into notice, and mocked his honors. 

Baruch seemed often lost in them. The ghost of 
Geronimo, the man with the double life, that h^d 



not appeared to him in the night, appeared to him 
now in full daylight, seizing on him at every 

At table, where every one drank Baruch's health 
and every one thought of him, he regained his 
spirits and joined in the festivity. 

In the afternoon, as he read the extracts for 
the day of the week, and the commentary on them, 
he was again aware that only lips and eyes were 
reading; his mind was not there. He spurned the 
contrary spirit in him, and fervently prayed to God 
to stand by him, and help and strengthen his faith. 
Tears fell on the open book; they softened the 
anguish of his heart. In a clear, firm voice, as if 
he would proclaim them to a congregation, he read 
out the words of the law, and by this invocation 
banished the demons from his heart, and a happy 
animation pervaded his being. 

His father came, and sat quietly beside him 
awhile; then said, closing the book: 

** Baruch may now be less diligent, he has at- 
tained to the highest honor in his youth; he must 
now take pains to strengthen his body." 

Baruch kissed the book again, and placed it on 
the shelf, then warmly clasped his father's hand. 

"O my son!" began his father again, "your 
honor is sevenfold my own; you cannot realize it. 
May you one day experience the like ! Naught is 
like unto the blessedness of the father who him- 



self strives after an honor, and then sees his son 
attain to it; my happiness and joy rest on your 
head, are yours, and yet more than mine, better 
than mine. I see the time of the Messiah before 
me; I know now how it must be to the Father's 
heart to call his Son the Saviour. God pardon 
me, my heart is so overfull ! I should not say so 
to you, but you may thus know how blessed you 
make me. My last brother is dead; that wound is 
healed with heavenly balm: you are my son, and 
brother also." 

Baruch had never seen his father so agitated; 
with humble looks he gazed at his flashing eyes. 
The souls of father and son found peace in com- 
munion. The father covered his brow with one 
hand, and after a pause said in a quiet tone: 

" Have you no wish, Baruch ? Speak out; I 
would willingly reward you for the joy with which 
you have animated my heart." 

It was a singular return to the common world, 
and only because the desire was habitual to him 
Baruch said: 

" Let me at last learn the language of all secular 
learning — Latin. Why should I know less than my 
schoolfellows Isaak Pinhero, Ahron de Silva, and 
many others ?" 

" Yes, I will grant your request. God, the All- 
good, who has led you hitherto, will guard you 
further, that you may drink in no poison from 


Such writings. And now, have you no other 
wish ?" 

" Is it true," said Baruch, looking at the ground 
and blushing, " is it true what Rodrigo Casseres 
said yesterday evening about the Moorish origin of 
my mother ? — blessed be her memory! Did I wrong 
Chisdai Astruk when I struck him in the face a 
year ago because he mocked me with it ?" 

The father's face changed suddenly at these words, 
he gazed before him, and pressed his lips together: 
at last he took a key from his pocket, opened a 
chest, and took out the death-gear that every pious 
Jew keeps ready, unrolled them, until he found a 
paper; this he handed to Baruch with these words: 

"Take and read it; you have heard of the death 
of my brother; you are the heir of all our traditions. 
Remember that. These words should have been 
yours when my mouth was mute, but it is better so. 
You are strong enough." 

The father pushed the writing towards him with 
a trembling hand, and left the room to go with his 
guest to the harbor, the so-called Buitenkant, where 
the monotonous cry of the sailors echoed across the 
water, and his co-religionists passing in the enjoy- 
ment of the Sabbath repeatedly congratulated the 
happy father. He showed his guest the verdure of 
the reclaimed marshes; and to-day a certain pride 
in his new home, and in its position gained by un- 
remitting energy, arose in him. 



As he showed his friend the water-working wind* 
mills, and explained the plan of the dykes and 
dams, and how each piece of fruitful land had its 
history, his hearer looked on in astonished sym- 

This man, who now first saw himself openly join- 
ing in the faith of his fathers, must have followed a 
devotional train of thought, for he said: 

*' In these Netherlands our God seems a second 
time to have miraculously dried up the sea, for the 
salvation of his people Israel. He has not done it 
by supernatural means, but taught his power to 

Meanwhile Baruch sat in his chamber and read: 



WHEN these words come into your hands, my 
mouth will be mute, my soul again with her 
to whom it ever belonged, and of whom I am now 
about to tell you 

My whole youth rises before me, my cheeks burn; 
from scorn and lies I have won a blessed life. 

Give heed. 

I was twenty years old the spring when I trav- 
elled to Seville to visit my brother Moses, called 
Geronimo, in his monastery. I say I was twenty 
years of age; but I knew men, and their dishonest 
ways. Misfortune and deceit age men before their 
time and teach them experience. I arrived in Se- 
ville. My brother received me with cruel coldness, 
hardly giving me his hand through the bars of the 
grating in the monastery parlor. ''Son of earth, I 
have naught in common with thee; what wouldst 
thou with me ?" he exclaimed. 

Such a reception did not attract me to him. I 
had business for some weeks in the town and neigh- 
borhood. I remained, therefore, a week in Seville, 
without seeing my brother again. 

In the gay companionship of Lindos and Majos I 


passed many careless hours of pleasure, but the 
thought of the fate of the flower of our faith in 
Seville was too grimly earnest to be forgotten. I 
visited the graveyard before the Minjoar gate, de- 
stroyed five-and- twenty years ago: there the bones 
of the great men of Israel once rested; there once 
stood the noble monument of our ancestor, of the 
great Rabbi Baruch de Espinosa, whose name you 
bear; but nothing was to be seen, not a single in- 
scription marked the spot wherein the bones of the 
noble man had been laid; even in the grave Spain 
had denied them rest, and searched it for gold, 
silver, and unholy books. 

One day an irrepressible inclination (after what 
resulted, I must needs call it an inspiration) made 
me revisit my unnatural priestly brother. 

As if I were mounting the holy hill of Zion, 
where once was enthroned the glory of God, I made 
my way with equal joy towards the Castle of Triana, 
where priests reigned in the name of the Creator. 
I could neither account for my joy nor control it. 

As T entered the parlor I was met by a sobbing 
maiden, who left the room with veiled face. 

"Sefiora," said I, "do you need a protector, and 
dare I — " I could not finish the sentence; the maiden 
raised her brilliant black eyes, a tear dropped from 
the long lashes, she shook her head slightly in denial, 
and went out. 

I was led to my brother's cell by a familiar. He 



convulsively clasped my hand, and when the fa- 
miliar left the cell, fell on my neck weeping. 

" Benjamin, my brother, it is thou, indeed; but I 
am no Joseph: I have sold myself. But no ! no ! I 
will be quiet. See ! it is just as if we were at home — 
thou art the younger, and yet thou hast power over 
me. ' Oh how lovely is it when brethren are to- 
gether! ' " he said. 

He saw how the marked contrast between this 
reception and the last surprised me, and prayed 
me to pardon him; he could not act otherwise, be- 
cause the parlor was so built, that the slightest 
whisper could be heard by the prior, whose cell 
was above. 

They always half mistrusted him, and he wished 
to show that he, if need be, could forcibly tear 
asunder all the bonds of nature, and look upon 
the priests alone as his brethren, the Church as his 
true mother. He described his daily life to me, 
and how he secretly prayed to the God of his fa- 
thers; the most cunning intrigues, the most ghastly 
tales of murder, he related with unmoved and pious 
mien; only sometimes a faint smile hovered round 
the corners of his mouth. I expressed my wonder 
at this blank want of expression. 

**An expressive countenance," he said, "is our 
greatest enemy. Therefore with God's help I have 
made mine blank and dull. Within all may be 
rage and rebellion if you will, but on the surface 


must be peace — the blessed eternal peace of the 
Holy One." 

We talked long together. I reminded him of 
Eleazar, called Constantine Montefiore, who with 
the same view as Moses had become a Dominican. 

"That is a case in point," said Geronimo; "he 
was caught in the invisible snares that surround 
the parlor. His father visited him, they were care- 
less enough to trust their secrets to the gossiping 
walls: an hour later they were thrown in prison. 
Constantine (I will not blame him: he iß dead) could 
not bear the thought that he was guilty of his father's 
tortures and death; with a piece of broken glass he 
opened a vein, and bled his young life away. Old 
Montefiore, already half a corpse, two days after- 
wards was burnt at an auto da //, with the body of 
his son." Thus talked Geronimo. I conjured him, 
by everything sacred, according to our father's 
wishes, to take to flight; he swore hotly by all that 
is holy never to leave his cloister alive. 

I returned to the town; the inexplicable obstinacy 
of my brother, with his life lost to the outer world, 
made my whole being shudder; but all my thoughts 
vanished like empty shadows when I saw the maiden, 
who had met me on entering the parlor, now sitting 
on a stone by the roadside. She did not notice 
me, and I passed her; hardly was I three paces dis- 
tant, however, when I was moved to return as if by 



".Sefiora," I said, " I have no right to penetrate 
the secrets of your heart; but I have a right, if you 
are in need of help, to offer it you, and you to de- 
mand it from me." 

She told me afterwards that the earnest tone of 
my voice had given her more confidence in me than 
my chivalrous words could have done. 

" Leave me alone, kind Caballero; my knight must 
be death alone," said she, in a voice in which tones 
of sorrowful refusal and timorous appeal combined 
in exquisite harmony. Oh, what an indescribable 
charm was in her whole appearance! I felt it, though 
in the twilight, and hidden by the carefully adjusted 
folds of her mantilla, I had seen little of her except 
her brilliant eyes. 

An inexplicable thrill passed through me as I 
stood before her; I remained fast bound to her 
vicinity. It was more than mere pity, more than 
sympathy with unknown grief, that held me there; 
I did not know it was love, which reveals itself 
when we approach the being whom the Lord has 
created for us. 

I talked longer with the maiden, or Manuela, as 
she was called. She excused herself for refusing 
my aid; I must not think ill of her; misfortune 
and grief had taught her mistrust of men ! Tears' 
choked her voice. 

So grief was the companion of her youth also. 
Ah ! the unhappy understand one another easily. 


She told me that her father had already been im- 
prisoned in the castle three months. She wished 
to wait here till the Inquisitor should return from 
the town; she knew well enough that her own life 
was in danger, because the law forbade any one, 
even though a child, to beg for the pardon of one 
accused of heresy; she would die with her father, 
and yet she feared the approaching night. 

*' I see already," she said, "it must be so; and I 
must evermore await the morrow in weeping and 

She rose, and went quickly away. I stood as one 
rooted to the spot, and when she disappeared from 
my eyes at a turn of the road, a longing like home- 
sickness overcame me, and I rushed after her. 
From the brow of the hill overlooking the mag- 
nificent bridge over the Guadalquivir I saw three 
veiled figures in white cloaks approaching with 
measured tread. Manuela threw herself at the feet 
of the foremost one; a piercing cry of grief reached 
me, and Manuela was forced aside. I sprang for- 
ward; the men quietly pursued their way, and ad- 
vanced towards me; I checked my rapid course, 
removed my hat and bowed; it was the Inquisitor 
accompanied by two Dominicans, who were return- 
ing to the Castle of Triana from a hunt for souls. 

The minutes I spent in humble trembling guise — 
a thousand curses for this villain, and a thousand 
cares for Manuela in my heart — were a foretaste of 


hell. Like an arrow shot swiftly from a bow, I 
sped on to support Manuela, whose trembling steps 
approached the gates. She recognized me, and 
stood still. I could not speak for gasping, and 
only grasped her hand. 

" Leave me, I pray you," she said, but without 
withdrawing her hand. I swore to her — oh, then 
I felt how dreadful it was not to dare name the 
Holiest by which a man can swear ! I thought 
my tongue would become incapable, when I, at the 
moment when I would have given the greatest as- 
surance, was obliged to swear by St. Jago. I could 
not speak, my whole soul was so agitated. Manuela 
clasped my hand in both hers, her tearful eyes met 
mine confidingly. 

^' Yes," she said, "I will follow my impulse; un- 
happier than I am I cannot be; come with me, you 
shall hear all." 

I offered her my arm, and with some hesitation 
she laid her trembling hand on it. 

"These streets have never seen me thus," she 
said in a low voice as we turned into a side street 
from the gate. 

I tried to soothe her; she was silent, and folded 
her mantilla closer. Without a word we went on, 
till in a narrow street, not far from the church of 
Our Lady of the Pillar, we entered an insignificant 
little house. 

*' Have you come at last, Manuela ?" cried a loud 

62 ^ SPINOZA. 

treble voice; and a round figure, with a light, rolled 
like a woolsack down the steps. 

" I have already prayed thirteen Ave Marias, and 
vowed a three-pound wax-candle to St. Jago, if you 
should come home safe. Ah ! my sweet little dove, 
whom have you there? Praised be the Virgin, is 
not that Don Alfonso Sajavedra from Valencia ? 
Excuse me, sir, my old eyes — " 

'' You have indeed seen wrong, Laura; it is not 
my cousin, but a stranger — a friend, I should have 
said, who will help us." 

" Then I was right," continued the old woman; 
'^ have I not often told you that if you went some 
one would help us ? Whenever I went I was thrown 
aside like a squeezed orange: but laugh away," 
she croaked on; *'it is just as the proverb says, ' A 
fresh stamped real, with the king's image — God 
save him ! — is better than one defaced with use.' 
You may pride yourself, noble knight, that my trem- 
bling dove has made an exception in your favor." 

The old woman was never tired of praising 
Manuela, and said it could only be by a miracle 
that I had gained so much from her. Manuela 
silenced her with difficulty. After the old woman 
had reviewed me to her satisfaction, she went out. 
Manuela must have met my gaze^ for she dropped 
her eyes. 

'' Sefior," said she, and hastily grasped my hand^ 
'' Sefior, what are you thinking of me ?" 



"That we love each other," I answered, kissing 
her hand. 

" Yes, we love each other," said she. ** God in 
heaven knows it, we love each other. O mother, 
mother, why must you die before seeing the infinite 
happiness of your child !" 

The tears coursed down her glowing cheeks at 
these words. 

"Dare I love you, Sefior ?" she whispered, and 
covered her eyes and cheeks with both hands; "do 
you know me ? do I know you ?" 

" We knew each other," I answered, " the mo- 
ment God kindled the spark of love in us; we love 
each other: is there a more intimate knowledge ?" 

Ah! it is but a feeble echo of that feeling that I 
can reawaken from the past; but even now, when 
I approach the grave, even now it thrills me like 
lightning, when I think how once almighty love 
exalted me. It was God's providence, this self- 
knowledge and comprehension without effort or 
search. Then, I confess, I felt nothing of this; 
sunk in unanticipated felicity I did not recognize 
the unseen hand which guided me as clearly as now 
it is evident to me it did. 

In the midst of her joy, the memory of the joyless 
hours spent by her imprisoned father recurred to 
Manuela. I consoled her, promised my brother's 
aid; but she trusted little to that. 

The old woman came in with the supper, 

64 " SPINOZA. 

" What is the noble Caballero's name ?" she 
whispered to Manuela ; I saw the maiden's con- 

''Tell my name aloud, Sefiora," I broke in; "it 
sounds well in this land, and this good mother has 
guessed the half prophetically. I am Alfonso de 

We sat down in comfort; the old woman watched 
me continually, and bade Manuela notice whether 
she were right or not in saying my hair was like 
this or that friend's. 

" By G — 's blood !" said she, " how glad I am that 
there is again a sombrero on the nail! Two woman- 
kind alone are but desolate creatures, and who 
knows how things may go with old Valor?" 

This name startled me; I pressed my Manuela to 
tell me her father's history; she looked down, and 
began after a short pause. 

"You know there were many Moorish ladies 
from Grenada in Cardia when the edict was read, 
that in future none would be permitted to go out 
veiled in the national manner. Among the ladies 
whose veils were torn off by the soldiery in the 
market-place of Cardia was my uncle's wife, called 
the beautiful Mirzah. Her beauty was so great 
that you would have thought an angel from Para- 
dise had been sent to bless the boldest of the fol- 
lowers of the former lords of Spain. No strange 
man's eye had ever rested on this loveliness, and 


now to be the prize of the rude mob! The news of 
this dreadful occurrence spread quickly amid the 
lamentations of the ladies; it was as if a violent 
earthquake had shaken the whole of Aljaniz, for 
the intention to abolish the remaining customs of 
the converted Moors was unmistakable. I do not 
know why I relate the story; I never knew Mirzah, 
who was cruelly repudiated by her husband, and 
her fate was wholly unconnected with ours. Ex- 
cuse me if I do not know where to begin: I have 
not thought connectedly of these things, because I 
never expected to be allowed to give an account of 
them. My father, like the other Moorish Christians, 
then lived in Aljaniz of Grenada. Ah ! I cannot 
tell it you to-day !" Manuela stopped and rose 
hastily from her chair. 

"Well, well, I am here," said the Duenna; "don't 
I know it all as well as you ? Was I not there when 
your mother — God rest her soul ! — told it to you ? 
I tremble to my heart's core when I think what life 
must have been like then." 

With much questioning and many interruptions 
I learned at last that Manuela's father, Don Antonio 
de Valor, called by the Moors Aben Hamed, was a 
cousin of Aben Humega. 

Don Antonio, who was averse to the Moorish 
rebellion, had remained a Christian, did not leave 
Grenada, and suffered as much abuse from his co- 
religionists as from the native Spaniards. Even 


Don Antonio's two sons were enraged with him, 
and when the premeditated storming of the Alham- 
bra was unsuccessful, they fled to the so-called 
King of the Alpujarras, Aben Humega, in the 
Sierra Nevada, and fell covered with honor in that 
unexampled war of extermination. 

" You should have come to us sooner," inter- 
rupted the Duenna; " then you would have looked 
round you: it was not as it is now; Flanders car- 
pets on the floors, tapestry of gold and silk on the 
walls; gold and silver goblets on the tables, that 
one thought they must break under them." We 
silenced the old woman with difficulty, and Manuela 
went on with the narrative. 

** The insurrection was suppressed, the Moors 
scattered, fallen, or imprisoned. As long as the 
philanthropic Marquis of Mondejar ruled in Gre- 
nada, my father lived undisturbed in the seclusion 
to which his own wish and his diminished fortune 
consigned him; when the noble Marquis was re- 
called, my father was arrested as a secret devotee 
of Islamism. The King's half-brother, Don John 
of Austria, who next held the government, again 
set him free from prison. My father came here to 
live in peace, far from the remains of his former 
associations. For ten years he remained undis- 
turbed; he went daily to church, but otherwise 
never left the house, employing the whole of his time 
in the study of learned writings and in my education. 



"Half a year later a malignant fever tore my 
mother from us; hardly any one dared approach her 
bed except my father; she died in his arms. From 
the day my mother was buried, my father never 
crossed the threshold of the house* even I, who' 
once could do anything with him, could not per- 
suade him to go near the church. 

" Twelve weeks ago yesternight — O God ! I 
shall never forget that hour! — two familiars de- 
manded admission to the house in the name of the 
Inquisition. Laura had the courage to admit them; 
I could not move from my place. They forced their 
way in, and dragged my father to the Castle of 
Triana, where he must defend himself from suspi- 
cion of heresy. An hour later everything in the 
house was searched and sealed; I had to look on, 
while they tore down my mother's picture, because 
they thought treasure might be concealed behind 
it, and, as they expressed it, the seductive heathen's 
face might have swallowed money." Here Manuela 
suddenly stopped. 

" I have told you all," she then continued in a 
confiding tone; " I have neither misuse of it to fear, 
nor, alas ! advantage from its use to hope." 

I used every inducement to comfort Manuela; 
but the old woman looked ghostly to me. as, during 
the latter part of the narration, she sat with folded 
hands and staring eyes, her lips moving mechani- 
cally in whispered prayer. Manuela did not notice 


her; for I had succeeded in turning her mind from 

the sad visions of the past. Midnight had chimed 

when I arrived at my Posada. When I awoke next 

morning all seemed a dream. 

• I sought Manuela next day, and really believed 

I had reason to suppose it all a vision of my heated 


Repentance for violated custom, trouble and 
doubt about the fate of her father, were evinced in 
every movement. She appeared completely altered; 
instead of bold, striving activity of mind, to-day 
she evinced Tnere broken will and slavish submis- 
sion, and repulsed me from her. 

I, like a fool, believed that the heavenly exulta- 
tion that raised us above all considerations of every- 
day life could subsist forever wuth equal force. 
Angry, that now the celestial must give place to the 
terrestrial for me, I left Manuela, and only out of 
pity, and not to neglect a duty once undertaken, I 
went to Geronimo and told him all. 

His sharp sight soon penetrated the state of 

" The maiden is either an angel or a devil," said 
he. " Habitual dissimulation, like habitual virtue, 
is not possible in such an extraordinary degree. 
The perfectly passive submission to a higher will, 
which has so deceived you, is merely the first article 
of the Credo of the Great Prophet. But set your 
mind at ease: I think I can manage to set old Valor 



free, though he is as little a Christian as you and 
T. They found very little money belonging to him." 

I wished not to revisit Manuela until her father 
was set at liberty, for that would most convincingly 
set her doubts at rest. That evening I again joined 
the company of my friends. With a loud ''^ ola 
amigoT I was greeted by the assembly; each one 
wanted to know the reason of my two days' ab- 
sence, and each one explained it according to his 
own particular habit of mind and manners. I was 
gay*and jovial. The next day after matins I again 
visited my brother. It was astonishing to me how 
quickly Don Antonio was set at liberty. For Gero- 
nimo had hardly laid the affair before the Inquisitor 
when they set him free. I was now permitted to 
accompany Don Antonio home. At the entrance 
of his dungeon I waited till he came out; for no 
one but the accused might enter those dark regions. 
When the emancipated prisoner came forth, it was 
evident what rack and chains had done for him. 
Don Antonio had hardly strength to stand upright; 
his eyes, at the unaccustomed light, streamed with 
tears until he was obliged to close them. I led him 
forth, and related what had happened during the 
last few days: his white lips tried to form a smile, 
for he perceived in my representation of events my 
love for Manuela. 

" Does my child know of my liberation ?" he 
asked, and forced open his eyes, whose wild look 


went to my heart. I told him I v/ished to punish 
Manuela for her doubt, and that she should first see 
me again at his side. He did not answer, but shook 
his head, muttering some inaudible words. I was 
uncomfortable in his presence. 

At last we arrived at Antonio's house. No one 
noticed us. With much labor, and stopping for 
breath at every step, Don Antonio mounted the 
staircase. We entered the room, and he sank into 
the easy-chair, in which he had borne his sorrows 
during so many years. Still no one was aware of 
our presence. I opened the inner door; in this 
room I saw Laura standing beside a bed, on which 
Manuela lay asleep. Don Antonio slid noiselessly 
past me. When the Duenna saw us she cried out in 
a fearfully shrill voice: 

" O Jesu Maria, the master !" Manuela awoke, 
stared blankly at us for a time as if dreaming, and, 
trying to dispel the illusion, she passed her hand 
across her brow. "Manuela, my child!" cried Don 
Antonio. She rose quickly. "Father!" she cried, 
and fell sobbing on his neck. It was a rapturous 
moment, when words died away, powerless to ex- 
press what soul would say to soul. 

" Loose me, my child, loose me," said Don An- 
tonio, and this time the tears that coursed down his 
hollow cheeks were of joy; " I am not strong enough 
to bear your caresses; command yourself, Manuela. 
See ! there is our friend, our deliverer, Don Alfonso; 




thank him, who was sent by God to deliver us in 
our need." 

Manuela loosed her father. Her expressive eyes 
had again the same entreating yet defiant expres- 
sion as when I first saw her; she threw herself on 
her knees before me, seized my hand, and covered 
it with tears and kisses. 

"Pardon me, dear sir," she entreated; '' I did not 
realize your power and greatness; pardon a poor 
inexperienced girl." 

"Rise, Manuela, rise, I command you; that is 
not what I meant; that is not the way to give 
thanks," said Don Antonio; and Manuela obeyed. 

From that time I visited Manuela daily. Her 
father was very ill. The muscular action that had 
been half destroyed by the rack the physician 
hoped he might be able to restore, but despaired 
of saving his sight. 

Don Antonio had made them swear to conceal 
nothing from him regarding his state; and at this 
news inexpressible wrath filled his soul. " Man," he 
once said, '' is the most abject creature on earth. 
What beast of prey would be so cruel — I will not 
say to those of his own species, but to such as it is 
born to lord it over — as one man is to another ? 
The hungry tiger and the tearing wolf suck the 
blood from their prey, but that is mercy compared 
to men who kill by thousand-fold deaths. Theyj 
have noble gifts, boldly inventive minds, and theyl 


invent graves in which their fellow-creatures may 
rot alive. Oh, if I were but — " 

He broke off, and gnashed his teeth. Manuela 
understood her father's condition; she did not ven- 
ture to calm him with conversation, but she sum- 
moned all the resources of her wit to lighten his 
melancholy. The innumerable small attentions 
which she paid him so unassumingly, the wealth 
of little anecdotes and favorite reminiscences of 
her father's that flowed from her lips, the lively 
songs which she sang to her guitar accompaniment 
with all the freshness of youth — all this done in 
such a manner could only be prompted by a richly 
gifted mind. 

Perhaps I wronged Manuela, but my vanity 
flattered itself that in causing this joyous^ outpour- 
ing of her inner life my presence had some part, 
as well as filial affection. We loved each other 
ever more and more tenderly and consciously. 
Don Antonio grew better day by day; some slight 
power of sight returned to his eyes by which he 
could see the outlines of objects as if covered with 
a dark veil. " Manuela," I said one day to her, 
when we were alone during Don Antonio's siesta, 
" Manuela, may I at last take some steps towards 
our final union?" 

" Please, please, do not speak to me of anything 
so serious; I am too young to think of such things/' 
she said. 



" But I told you before that my love was not 
given to a child, but to a maiden with reason and 
will of her own." 

"And who is that happy creature?" laughed 
Manuela. " I forgot to ask." 

Then I swore I would no longer be put off with 
a jest; she must confess whether she knew her 
father's intentions or not. 

" No," was the monosyllabic answer. 

"And what have you determined to do, if your 
father — God forbid it — should refuse me?" 

She answered in a decided voice, " Filial duty is 
above all others, but I will — " She could not 
finish, for Don Antonio called from his chamber, 
" What is that noise ? What are you quarrelling 
about ?" 

"Don Alfonso will not believe that I was only 
fifteen a month ago." 

"That you were already fifteen, say rather, my 
child, for the older the man is, the worse for him in 
this cursed land." 

" Manuela is wrong," I said to Don Antonio as 
he came out; " she has misinformed you; she would 
not believe me when I said I should go away to- 

"I am heartily sorry for that," said the old man; 
"I should like to have you always near me. Men 
get accustomed to new friends with difficulty when 
they are old, at least to friends of your age; but 



near you, I declare, I wish what I never wished be- 
fore, to' be young again, merely in order to be 
wholly your friend." 

" Would you not rather be my father ?" I felt 
how the blood rushed to my face, I saw how vio- 
lently Manuela blushed, as I said these words with 

"Go, child," said Don Antonio indifferently, " go 
and fetch me that book from our neighbor, which 
he has had so long." 

Manuela went out. 

" I am much indebted to you," Don Antonio then 
said to me, " but it is not manly to clothe service 
and thanks in soft words; also, according to the 
rules of our religion, men should neither demand 
nor offer thanks, since in all our goings and com- 
ings we are but tools in the hand of God. I do not 
know whether that is why there is so much ingrati- 
tude in the world; but now, ask what you would 
have, you shall have it, except my child, my Manuela! 
I cannot do without her, she is as needful to my life 
as the air I breathe, and as long as I live she shall 
be no man's wife. Press it no further, spare your- 
self and me the bootless words." I was stunned, 
and could say nothing; tears stood in my eyes, I 
took my hat, and went out. Don Antonio called 
after me to return, but I did not turn round. Man- 
uela met me on the steps; I hardly saw her, and 
hastened away. 

PATtiER AN-Jb soJ\r. ^5 

I went to Geronimo, and told him of my inten- 
tion to travel, and the reason of it. 

"It is not Manuela," he said, "whom you fly 
from: it is from yourself, from the inclinations of 
your own heart, you are forced to run; but they will 
follow you as your shadow, they will not vanish 
with distance; no, ever lovelier and more fascinat- 
ing will they appear; and in longing and deferred 
hope you will linger on in sickness of mind. The 
Lord defend you doubly and trebly from the other 
course. Trust me, for you know that I too have 
loved, and my dead Isabella will live in my heart 
until it shall cease to beat. Therefore guard care- 
fully your first love, or see to it that you take with 
you the certainty of your former delusion. Man 
yourself, and go again to Manuela." 

I willingly followed his advice. 

That evening I went to take leave of my joyous 
circle of friends. All congratulated me on my 
lovely bride; one said I was truly condescending 
still to remember my friends, when I was on the 
point of uniting myself with a descendant of the 
Chalifs of Cordova. 

"The family is as noble as that of Ponce de 
Leon; and he who denies it, I will plant the point 
of my sword in his heart as the stem of a family 
tree," I replied, and was ready to follow my words 
with deeds. 

All sprang up to appease the quarrel. My good 


humor, however, was ruffled by this, and I sought 
an opportunity to return home. I shook hands with 
one after the other, but they all cried, " No, we will 
not let you go that way; you shall see how much 
we think of you; we will go to your beloved's house 
with you, and send a musical scale of your feelings 
for her into that quiet chamber where she lies 
and dreams of you." The guitars and other instru- 
ments were quickly taken down from the walls of 
the Posada, and their harmony tried by a touch, 
and the throats cleared with another pull at the 
wine of La Mancha mixed with water. I thanked 
them, and protested against their intention, but all 
to no purpose. 

" Will you not go with us ?" they all cried to- 
gether. ''Very wellj we will go alone; and to-mor- 
row you will hear wonders of the heaven-storming 
love messages we have sent up to her." To tem- 
per their recklessness I went with them through 
the deserted streets with a beating heart; naught 
else was to be heard but the echoing steps and 
careless laughter of our jovial company. Hardly 
was our first " Farewell " sung, when the windows 
of the neighboring houses were filled with inquisi- 
tive fair ones in light night-gear; the house of Man- 
uela alone remained blank and silent. 

My friends retired; I remained, and sang one 
more song of melancholy farewell; but still no one 
appeared, and I unwillingly returned home. 



I went early next morning to Manuela's house 
with a doubting heart and trembling limbs. I sur- 
prised her in her light morning-gown; she gave 
a slight exclamation, and without answering my 
greeting disappeared through the inner door, which 
she closed after her. 

" Good-morning, you haughty fugitive knight ! 
Has your hot head left its ill-humors in its night- 
cap ?" she called through to me laughingly. " Now 
who was right, father ?" she continued ; " do I not 
know something of human nature ? Did I not say 
Don Alfonso would come again ? I was certain of 
it. Now, Sir knight, as you have won me a victory 
over my father, I allow you, by virtue of my author- 
ity to bind and to loose, to remain three days longer 
in Seville, if you lay the penance upon yourself of 
making a pilgrimage every day to St. Manuela, and 
kneeling before her praying for an hour; or would 
you prefer some other favor ?" 

"Yes," I replied, "this: that you would not waste 
our limited number of minutes on unnecessary or- 
namentation, but come out as soon as possible." 

She made no reply, but sang the " Farewell " of 
the previous evening in a trembling voice. She 
had hardly finished the first verse before she came 
out with her arms folded under a gray cloak. 

" You Hotspur !" said she, "you are so niggardly 
with your seconds, you do not leave me time to 
dress myself properly. I am such a child, that for 


fear you should run away as you did yesterday 
evening, I come wrapped in an old mantle of my 
late mother's; but it is such an awkward old- 
fashioned thing, that I cannot hold it on long, so 
be quick that you may go away soon, or leave me 
now and come back again shortly." 

'' I shall not cause you inconvenience long, 
Sefiora," I replied, irritated at her last words; she 
perceived it, and walked backwards and forwards 
with her eyes fixed on the ground. 

" If we must part," she said, " I should prefer to 
do so now; I see by your continued agitation that 
the memories which should illuminate our dark 
future will be colorless and broken. My father 
knows how much I love you, I have concealed no- 
thing from him; Heaven grant that your love is 
equal to mine! I wish for nothing more. But I also 
know how to obey." Don Antonio sat silently in 
his arm-chair, wrapped in his dressing-gown, his 
hands clasped between his knees, and his shoulders 

"What purifying fires of adversity has your 
mutual love stood yet?" he murmured in a strange 
voice, without moving in the least from his cower- 
ing position. 

"It was born in adversity," I answered, "but we 
should soon forget that both freely and willingly." 

"What would you have?" he cried, and rose 
trembling from his seat. " Because by chance you 


aided in my deliverance do you seek to rob me 
doubly and trebly of life, since you would rob me 
of my child's love and obedience. I have given 
you all, you proud Spaniards; you have sapped my 
trunk, drop by drop, of strength and power; I am 
but a dried stick; but as sure as the blood of the 
old Valors runs in my veins, my child, my life you 
shall not rob me of, as long as this hand has strength 
to bury this dagger in her weak maiden's heart. 
Go ! old fool that I am, I was deluded into thinking 
you better than others. Go ! you are as covetous 
and mischievous as all the rest." 

His voice sounded like a war-cry, his foaming 
lips trembled with rage; he sank back powerless 
into his chair. Manuela hastened to him, stretched 
her bare arms towards him, and prayed him to be 

" O God, where shall I turn to !" she cried. " I 
saw my mistake, offered Don Antonio my hand, 
and prayed him to forget the words he had just 
spoken as readily as I, too, would forget them, that 
we might part in peace. He pressed my hand con- 

"You irritated me too much," he said, "Don 
Antonio de Valor was never ungrateful, and never 
permitted such an accusation to be made to his 
face. My child is mine, as much my own as my 
right hand; shall I cut it off, and give it you with 
thanks ? I am angry no more, certainly not; be 


patient, it is but a short span of life that I have yet 
to pass, and I shall not make the time longer." 

He sat up, and concentrated all his powers of 
sight to read the effect of his words on our coun- 
tenances; he must have found something satisfac- 
tory, for he continued in a gentler voice: 

" I intended so well by you that in the spring 
who knows whether I may not come to Guada- 
laxara, to try, with your learned father's aid, to' 
sharpen the sight of my bodily and spiritual eyes." 

" Oh, that would be glorious !" said Manuela joy- 
fully; " I will take such care of you, that you will 
be quite young again. How far will you come to 
meet us, Don Alfonso ?" 

The conversation now took a gayer tone. 

"I never thought it would all end so well; it is 
lucky my father's old sword is rusted in its sheath 
on the wall, or perhaps our room would have been 
a bloody battle-field," said Manuela, her gayety 
blooming yet brighter through grief.and tears. 

Don Antonio did not speak again; but, amid 
memories of the past and plans for the future, I 
felt that the moment of separation had arrived, for 
I must tear myself away from such joyous asso- 
ciations. I put out my hand to take leave of Don 

"Depart in peace," he said; "at peace with 
yourself and with us; remember me to your worthy 



"And shall we soon see each other again?" I 
asked; he pressed my hand and nodded assent. 
Manuela stood by motionless; our eyes met, as if 
each would impress the image of the other once 
more on the memory; the grief of parting agitated 
both alike, and each sought to repress it. 

"Manuela, farewell!" I said, approaching my 

" Farewell," she answered in a firm voice; " I am 
certain that you will never forget me; and, if it is 
fated that we should at one time belong to each 
other, we shall find each other again; if it is other- 
wise decreed, what is the use of complaint and 
opposition ? Obedience is our duty. Be happy 
therefore with another, who, however, will not love 
you more than I have done; but all the powers of 
earth and heaven shall not prevent me from loving 
you till death and after. Farewell !" 

I embraced her father again passionately; I be- 
lieve I should have pressed the Grand Inquisitor 
himself to my heart. I know nothing more of how 
I tore myself away, but at the house-door the 
Duenna stopped me, and strange to say, every word 
of her address remains in my memory; I seem even 
to hear her voice — 

It often annoys us, but it is wisely ordained, that 
near a nightingale there is always a cuckoo or some 
other every-day bird, or a frog croaks in the marsh. 

" The world is always the same," the old woman 


began, as she kissed the hem of my mantle. " Laura, 
who means better than any one else in the world, is 
forgotten by every one. You must not think I have 
run after you to be thanked, for I do not know my- 
self what for. But you are so proud that you 
hardly say * Good-day ' to Laura, and yet I have 
stood a good deal for you; I at least deserved that 
your Honor should say ' Good-by ' to me. I should 
have been offended if I were not so long used to 
the ingratitude of the world. Holy Mary, Mother 
of God, be with me ! poor sinner that I am, I could 
wish in my heart that they would bring me the last 
sacrament, and give me a house of six boards. Our 
dear good Don Alfonso goes away, and we shall 
have Ash Wednesday the whole year round. As 
St. Jago is good to me, you may believe me, if I 
were not so fond of Manuela I would not stay 
twenty-four hours with the old cripple, who makes 
a face like Judas every day in the year; and that 
good child, what she suffers from him no one knows. 
Oh ! it would be well enough for you, if only I need 
not suffer from it. If it is all settled among ourselves, 
no one will tell a whisper of it abroad; you see 
what it is not to have old experienced persons who 
have been much about in the world for advisers. 
In my last situation I brought a pair together, whom 
the old ones were much more against than is our 
old grumbler upstairs; but they were not so proud 
that for mere billing and cooing they have over- 


looked their best friend under their very noses. It 
is true they rewarded me at last with ingratitude — 
but that is nothing. * If you give to-day, you are 
forgotten to-morrow,' so says the proverb; and a 
proverb is a true speech. If you had but given me 
a wink, I would have contrived it better. You may 
be good and brave enough, but — don't be offended, 
your Honor; I mean well, as sure as I am a sinner — 
you are not clever. For six long weeks you have 
sneaked round it like a cat after hot meat. Why, 
the very next day, the very next hour, you brought 
the old man home, you should have wooed my 
sweet little dove. Put it to yourself, could he have 
refused you ? * Press the lemon dry before it is 
rotten,' says the proverb; but 'in six weeks — St. 
James ! what cannot be forgotten in six weeks ! I 
don't wonder he wipes his mouth, and dismisses 
you with a mere Gratias ! There is no one prouder 
than a knight of the hills, but I always thought he 
was half a heathen — I would not stay in the house 
if it were not for the good child, who is as dear to 
me as if she were my own babe. I tell you I have 
seen many lovers; I myself, stare as you will, was 
once young and charming, and had good reason to 
show myself. I was very fond of my first husband 
— very fond indeed; but I never thought to see any 
one in love as Manuela is, my whole life long. 
What does the old man care ? For him she might 
wait till her hair was -gray and her soft flesh 


wrinkled; his life is tough enough, he will not die 
yet awhile; he will give her to no one else. God 
be merciful to me, I believe he would marry her 
himself, if it were not against nature. Oh ! it makes 
my heart jump in my breast when I think how 
pleasant everything might have been; it would 
have been so different, and old Laura might then 
have had the pleasure of rocking a rosy young 
Manuelita or Alfonsito in her arms. But it is all 
talking to the winds now, and I keep you here for 
nothing. Don't take it amiss, your Honor; make 
haste to come back soon, then let Laura act, and 
you will see how w^ell things will turn out." 

I listened to the old woman, half unwillingly, 
as if compelled. Now I offered her some doubloons 
as a farewell; she said she would not take them; 
she did not know what they were for; she had not 
earned them. After some protest she took them, 
and with a roguish expression of gratitude said: 

"You should have seen sooner the truth of the 
proverb: 'Presents move rocks.' Have you no 
more commissions for Manuela?" 

I knew of none; she kissed my hand, and went 
away grumbling and muttering at the heathenish 
bald-head. After an hour passed in visiting Ge- 
ronimo I had left Seville. I saw clearly that here 
was a turning-point in my career that would in- 
fluence my whole life. 

But what are the intentions and decisions of pien ? 


A puf¥ of wind, a shadow, disturbs them, and they 
are no more. 

More tlian a year passed away; I had written 
twice to Manuela and her father, but received no 
answer. Her lovely image receded more and more 
into the background of my soul; the exclusiveness 
and self-sufficiency in which I had wrapped myself 
disappeared by degrees. The retreat of our uncle 
in Madrid and his family from our secret society, 
his bitter repentance, and the penance he did for 
the former half-heartedness of his faith, filled us all 
with grief and anxiety. The powerful Espinosas 
now in Spain are the descendants of this uncle. 
But not by a single betrayal of his coreligionists 
did he seek to lighten the hard penance laid upon 
him. We heard, however, from Geronimo that 
through a new edict of the Inquisition, which we 
had believed would affect the Moorish Christians 
alone, the Jewish Christians also would be exiled 
to Africa. 

Amid anxiety for myself and those belonging 
to me, the memory of Manuela revived with all the 
fascinations of her angelic being. I saw the finger 
of God in it, when Rodrigo Casseres, who was 
travelling to Seville, offered to take charge of my 
commissions there. 

I represented in my letter to Manuela all the 
horrors that awaited us, and besought her to come 
to us immediately with her father, that we might 


bear the future together. Almost without hope of 
any result, and merely to fulfil love's last duty, I 
sent off the letter. 

My breast filled with a thousand cares and 
anxieties, and blaming our ancestors, who had 
laid on us a daily, ever-recurring, inglorious martyr- 
dom, and doubled-faced religion, as an inheritance, 
I sauntered one day along the country road. There 
I saw a carriage advancing at a slow rate; I ap- 
proached. A look, a cry, and Manuela was in my 
arms. As if by magical attraction had she lightly 
sprung over the side of the carriage. I quickly 
got into the conveyance with her, and drew the cur- 
tains, then drove towards the gate. Don Antonio 
sat by Manuela, wrapped in a large woollen rug; he, 
too, congratulated himself on the lucky accident 
that had allowed us to meet so soon. 

" If I had gone much longer over hill and dale," 
he said, '' Manuela would have brought me to you 
as a corpse; the journey rattled all my limbs to- 
gether so, that I thought I was on the- rack again. 
You have succeeded to your heart's content, have 
you not, Manuela, now you have persuaded the old 
fool to this long journey? Yes, yes; my life is 
worth nothing now; the sooner I die the better, is 
it not. Never mind, I shall not last long." 

With a mocking laugh he scowled at us both, 
and pushed Manuela's arm away. 

If his former refusal had seemed diabolical ava- 


rice to me before, the way he now poisoned his 
own child's happiness made it difficult for me to 
conquer my disgust; but he was nevertheless Man- 
uela's father. Manuela understood how to dispel 
my annoyance by innumerable little questions and 
reminiscences. She easily succeeded, for what an 
infinitude we had to say to each other. But how 
strange it is, that, while a hundred important ques- 
tions crowd into the mind, it is so often the least 
important that first forms itself into words ! 

" How is old Laura ?" I inquired. 

*' She is dead, the false viper ! Hear what hap- 
pened to her. Hardly seven months since my father 
lay very ill (he has hardly enjoyed a month's health 
during your absence). Laura fell ill also; she was 
taken to the hospital of San Lorenzo, which she 
made heir to all her possessions. Her illness in- 
creased; she was incurable. After she had received 
the final sacrament, she expressed as a last wish 
that they should bring me to her; she could not die 
in peace till she had spoken to me once more alone. 
My father, too, advised me to go to her, and with 
almost insuperable disinclination I allowed myself 
to be conducted to the hospital. I should hardly 
have recognized Laura, so emaciated she had be- 
come in a few weeks; she, however, knew me at 
once, and wept as she stretched out her bony hands 
to me. Her habitual talkativeness had not yet de- 
serted her, and in a low voice, broken by groaning 

gg spiJsrozA. 

and moaning, she avowed to me, that it was she 
who in confession to the priest had told that my 
father never went to church, and worshipped hea- 
then gods in secret. 

" The confessor, for this godly act, had absolved 
her from all her sins; but now it seemed to her as 
if she could not die before I too had forgiven her 
for the many troubles that had ensued to me in con- 
sequence. I must remember that she had pledged 
her own soul that I was a good Christian child, and 
thus I had been safe; I must remember, she said 
— and the old wretch winked with her half-closed 
eyes — that it was only so that I had come to know 
that dear good Don Alfonso, and she promised me 
soon to pray in heaven for our union. I thanked 
her for her good intentions, but could not embitter 
her dying hour, and forgave her, I must confess, 
with a not wholly willing heart." 

I then told Manuela of my last conversation with 
Laura, and amid such talk we reached my father's 
house. The arrivals were very welcome to my 
father. Old Valor was carried up the steps, and 
their limited baggage soon stowed in its place. My 
sister, who was some years older than Manuela, 
was soon her dearest friend, so that she felt com- 
pletely at home with us. 

We quietly prepared for our departure, but the 
infirm state of Don Antonio, in wliich he would not 
hear of a journey, made us all anxious; my father. 


who was reputed to be the most experienced phy- 
sician in New Castile, feared that he would linger 
long. We were astonished one morning, therefore, 
to find him dead in bed, with a frightfully swollen 
countenance. For this once, when Manuela first 
saw the horrible state of her father's face, her 
bodily powers sank unconscious under the burden 
of her woe; otherwise she had endured with forti- 
tude all the vicissitudes of life. 

My father thought that he had not the appear- 
ance of a natural death; and in fact, when the body 
was laid out, the amulet that Don Antonio had 
worn on his breast since his last imprisonment was 
found open and empty, and nowhere were to be dis- 
covered the remains of any poison. Manuela never 
heard anything of this circumstance. 

As old Valor was now dead, my father thought 
our departure should be deferred no longer. The 
departed had left no intimation of his last will: 
what was more natural than that Manuela should 
travel with us ? My father charged me to remind 
her to take into speedy consideration her somewhat 
unsettled affairs. I went to her, and found her 
alone, weeping, and pensive. 

" We all honor you for these signs of filial affec- 
tion," I said ; " but why give yourself up any longer 
to such melancholy thoughts ? My father will be 
your father, and I — you know what I would be to 


" No, never !" she answered. '' Have pity on me, 
poor orphan that I am, and let me go to my uncle 
in Valencia. He will not visit my father's enmity 
on me; he will not repel his sister's child. How 
willingly would I remain with you ! but I §ee too 
late that an iron wall separates us forever." 

" Do you know already ?" I asked impatiently. 
"Did my sister confide it to you ? Believe me, long 
ago my heart felt guilty of cowardly perjury not 
to have confessed everything to you; you would 
never have betrayed me. Yes, I am a Jew, and 
will stand by my oppressed brethren in the faith 
as long as a breath of life remains in me ; and if you 
can desert me, well and good — you never loved me. 
Go to your uncle; no one will prevent you." 

Manuela stared at me with despairing eyes. 

" You are cruel, Sefior," she said; " I should never 
have thought you could be so. Who has given you 
the right to treat me with such scorn, and yet that 
I must love you ? Think you that I am faint-hearted, 
and ashamed of my faith ? Say outright — I know 
you adhere to Islam, as your dead father did — and 
I will embrace your knees and beg forgiveness, 
but do not mock me. What have I done to you T' 

A torrent of tears choked her voice; she turned 
from me sobbing. " O father, father !" she cried, 
" they treat your child so; why did you not take 
me with you into your grave ?" 

I called down all the curses of Heaven on my 



head if I had not told the truth. She looked at me 
kindly again, and the tears in her eyes witnessed 
her extreme sorrow for the injustice she had done 
me, and for the awful abyss that opened before our 

" So near, and yet so infinitely far !" she said, 
giving me her hand in reconciliation. I besought 
her by all her former depth of love. 

" God is a God of love w^herever he is wor- 
shipped — in church, mosque, or synagogue. Were 
it not the will of God, should we have found and 
refound each other ?" In fiery words I placed be- 
fore her the differences of creed as they appeared to 
lovers; I troubled myself but little about what was 
written in books or taught by priests. God for- 
give me, I should not like to answer for it all now. 
Manuela but half listened to me, and cried in a 
heart-rending voice: 

" Lord God, destroy me n<3t because I still doubt. 
What law have I broken that you should lay on me 
so intolerable a burden ? Can I cast out the faith 
of my childhood from my mind, and yet live ? Why 
should I, even I, a weak girl, be fated to be Moslem 
at heart and Christian in appearance, at last to 
give the lie to both ? Is there not one more Temple 
through which I may be hunted, and my poor heart 
torn asunder ? My father was wrong to throw an 
old gypsy woman down the steps, as he did three 
years ago, so that I thought she would never get 



up again; he did it because she prophesied that I 
should not die in my present faith, and that I was 
born for great things: I wish I knew what the great 
things were to be. If the old witch should return, 
how surprised she would be at her own wisdom !" 
A shriek of horror interrupted Manuela's words. 

" It is black art that plays such tricks !" she cried, 
and shrank close to me in fear. I glanced at the 
door: there stood an old gypsy woman leaning on 
a staff, and asking me for alms with a shrewd 
laugh. I soothed Manuela, who trembled all over; 
she recovered herself, however, and approaching 
the gypsy bravely, asked: 

"Do you know me?" 

"Why not, then ?" answered the old woman, and 
raised her grinning face to hers. " Look, I have a 
good memorial of you — that scar over my left eye, 
I got it at your house in Seville. What do you say 
now to my prophecies? are they not fulfilled ?" 

" I do not know," answered Manuela. 

"You don't know. Ay, ay, but I know." 

" Thank you very much for your wisdom," an- 
swered Manuela, handing her a present. 

"Just a minute yet: give me that little velvet 
hand; I know many another thing." 

Manuela only half opposed her. The old woman 
chuckled so much when she had looked at the lines 
on the hand for a time, that her stick fell from her 


"That is beyond everything," she cried. " Look 
here! such a finely marked life-line I have only had 
to look at once before: a handsome knight will 
come and carry you over the sea; you may rely on 
it; it is as certainly true — as true as that I would I 
were as young and fair as you. Do you see that 
little line that goes across there? That means 
much sorrow and heartache. But wait a minute; 
you must listen to this: that is a fine boy that you 
will bear. You need not turn so red. There is a 
bold, widely famed knight, whom no one can stand 
against in the lists; he gives his strokes with such a 
sure, quiet aim, that all his adversaries are stretched 
on the sand; that circle outwards, that is a crown 
he refuses." 

Such, and much more such, were the fool's jests 
that the garrulous old woman told us; I still won- 
der at myself for having retained such nonsense in 
my memory. Manuela seemed, however much she 
tried to hide it, to believe more than I; I never 
cared much for such things, and we have the clear- 
est evidence now as to what they are worth. She 
would have prophesied for me also, but I had other 
things to do and think of. I gave her money, and 
told her to go on her way. 

By this strange incident Manuela's extreme agi- 
tation, which had made me tremble, was happily 
diverted. I now quietly represented the case to her, 
and she, too, was quiet. I was obliged to promise 



not to disturb her with another word until the next 

" I will think over it all faithfully and conscien- 
tiously," she said; ''no one may, no one can, advise 
me here." 

When I awoke next morning my first thought 
was: to-day the course of my whole future life will 
be decided. It is not possible in such emergencies 
to remain master of our thoughts; anxiety and im- 
patience disturb us too much. I hastened out on 
to the Alameda, spurred my horse, as if I could 
quicken the time like his paces and make the seconds 
run on, that I might at last go to Manuela. 

" God alone knows how I have struggled," she 
said as she came to me. "You have won; but I 
entreat you, let us go away from here. I can bear 
this place no longer." I told my father everything. 

"You have not done well, my son," said he, "to 
put such unequal weights in the scale; what you 
tell me is no news to me: but the maiden should 
not have been won to our faith and family with a 
broken spirit. I will explain to her all the hard 
duties which our faith enjoins, all the sorrows it 
is still condemned to bear; if then she still holds 
to her decision, may God grant his blessing, and 
make her the mother of a pious progeny !" 

Manuela stood firm. 

There was now nothing to prevent our departure. 
When we had with much difficulty put our posses- 




sions into a portable- form, Immanuel started with 
our sister and Manuela, for we were obliged to do 
our utmost to avoid attracting notice. The night 
after, I followed with my father. I could hardly 
restrain my tears as we slipped through the familiar 
streets like thieves, surrounded by fear and dark- 
ness. Oh ! we loved our step-fatherland with all 
our hearts; I feel it now. My father did not utter 
a syllable. When the red dawn first rose he com- 
manded me there to take the sun to my witness, 
and swear by God Almighty, that I would not take 
Manuela to me as my own till she was accepted 
into our faith and bound to me in the bonds of 

We overtook the others, and arrived after many 
difficulties at Oporto. There we dwelt with the 
father of Uriel da Costa till the day of our depart- 
ure. We met Mendez Henrico from Madrid here; 
he left an honorable post at court, and a passion- 
ately beloved bride, to confess his faith with his 
brethren in a distant land. He was a taciturn fel- 
low-traveller. A fearful curse, such as no tongue 
of man ever spoke before, he called down on un- 
happy Spain as we raised the anchor; his eyes 
rolled like a madman's, he gnashed his teeth and 
stamped his foot, till I was afraid of his wrath, and 
strove to soothe him. Without replying, or even 
looking round, he went to the other end of the 
ship, leant against a coil of ropes in a lonely corner, 


and cowered down. I had enough to do for my 
own people, and left Henrico to his own devices. 

Our journey was fair in the beginning; the change 
of scene reawakened Manuela's gayety. But my 
father fell ill the first evening. He tried, as here- 
tofore, to avert the evil by strong medicines: but it 
was no use; he grew worse from hour to hour. 

" It is strange," he said to me once, as I sat be- 
side his bed: "here I Heboid child that I am, in a 
great cradle, that will rock the life out of me. Do 
not throw my body out on to the cold flood. As 
Joseph once his brethren, so I conjure you, my 
children, take my bones and bury them in the land 
whereto the Lord will lead you; I feel that my eyes 
will never see it more." 

I tried to divert him from such thoughts, but he 
said: "I know my hours are numbered. I have ex- 
perienced much joy and much sorrow in this world; 
glory and thanks be to the Lord our God for both ! 
Come, call my children — Manuela too; she also is 
my child; you will be happy with her. Do not 
weep," he said to them as they entered. " I sink 
into the grave in peace, for I know that you will go 
on unmolested, and may live at peace with your 
God; but should an oppressor's hand repulse you, 
despair not, for the law of our God, the Infinite and 
only One, will one day be gloriously recognized h^ 
all nations." 

My father talked much longer about the regu- 



lation of our future life; his approaching death 
seemed to have lent him insight into unknown con- 
tingencies. He blessed us each singly, and de- 
parted after a few hours with prayerful lips. Since 
then I have seen the spirits of many depart from 
the body, but I have never since seen so celestially 
peaceful a countenance. Our tears flowed plen- 
teously, but Manuela wept most violently; she was 
an orphan a second time. When a return of life 
to the body was hopeless, we emptied a large chest 
quietly, and wrapped the corpse in the winding- 
sheet my mother had prepared. A bag of earth 
from the promised land, for which my father had 
given much gold, lay beside the shroud. We 
placed this holy earth under his head, and laid 
the coffin in the lowest cabin, where my brother 
watched it. 

It was a foggy morning when we proceeded on- 
ward. Towards midday a violent storm arose, with 
all the horrors of which I had hitherto only heard 
the narration in the numerous stories of my father's 
travels. I thanked God that he had spared him 
this fresh affliction, and sought by these thoughts 
to soothe the trembling maidens. 

The captain came to us, and ordered us in few 
words to bring him the chest immediately wherein 
the corpse lay, that he might not be obliged to 
overturn everything, and lose much time thereby; 
it was a well-known rule that the sea would not 


become smooth until the corpse that a ship might 
hold was given up as an offering. I tried to pacify 
him, but was foolish enough to strive to show him 
the absurdity of his superstition. He had nearly 
stabbed me for my advice, if Manuela had not held 
his arm. I would have left my father's last wishes 
only unfulfilled by my death, and prepared for op- 
position; the girls wailed and wept; the whole ship's 
company came, and I was obliged to comply. 
When we had loaded the coffin with ballast, that 
it might sink, I came with it into the raging ele- 
ments, and with a bleeding heart saw how the high 
swelling waves closed over the offered prey. For 
a long time my rest was sunk with it. The whole 
ship was in frightful commotion; one man alone 
stood unmoved amid the uproar: it was Mendez 
Henrico. A cocked pistol in one hand, and holding 
on with all his strength to a rope with the other, he 
stood on the deck. 

" What do you want .? are you mad ?" I cried to 
him; he smiled pityingly. 

"Do you see the sea there?" he said; "do you 
see ? It is a great font; we shall all be baptized 
there according to the rites of the Greek Church; 
but they shall not compel me to it while I live — 
they, whom the elements deceive so slavishly. If 
that breaks (here he pointed to the mast), this ball 
shall burn in my heart; I will not — " At that mo- 
ment the mast crashed down, a shot resounded, and 



Henrico fell head first overboard. I felt crushed 
by all that was around me; we were playthings in 
the hands of the storm. 

My son, whoever would learn what is the good 
of his own life and of what, he knows of the world, 
and what is worthless in it, he will learn it best if 
he be placed with all he is and has on the boundless 
ocean. During that storm and the ensuing calm I 
saw deeper into the meaning of things than ever 
before. It was to me like the forty years' wander- 
ing in the wilderness of our forefathers; the old 
generation shall not enter into the promised land; 
it died out in me, and a new man saw the abode of 
freedom before him. 

We landed at last in Antwerp, and it was in a 
season of mourning that I first learnt to love our 
new home. 

For thirty days, as the law ordains, I mourned 
for my father; but for a much longer period I de- 
plored my inability to carry out his last wishes. 
Manuela was meanwhile accepted as a member of 
the Jewish congregation, and at her side I found 
that peace and happiness for which I eternally 
thank God. We had both many hard struggles in 
life. We had both imagined the exercise of Juda- 
ism in a free community to be a very different 
thing; we did not know how strong the ties of 
habit were in us, and I especially could not re- 
concile myself to the mere freedom to live a life 


hemmed in by a thousand religious observances. 
God Almighty will forgive my sins, I have learned 
to know that His Holy Will is over all, and that 
the observance of the Law alone leads to him. We 
have devoted all we have to the end that our chil- 
dren might grow up in the peace of true faith. Be 
thankful for it. You above all, my son. 

Such is the story of my life and of my love, writ- 
ten for my only son, Baruch, alone. 



BARUCH'S hand trembled as he laid the pages 
aside, and his brow was hot as he leant it on 
his hand. 

What confusion there is in the life of humanity 
thus divided into races and sects, each one of 
which hates and persecutes the other, and' thinks 
itself alone wise and righteous ! Thus the Temples 
become encampments, where the watchword given 
out is salvation to the initiated, damnation to all 
the rest. 

A voice stronger and more piercing than that of 
the synagogue now called upon Baruch to pro- 
nounce the blessing on the revealed unwritten Law, 
whose two pillars are freedom from all shackles of 
race or creed, and love to, all mankind. Had not 
Maimonides already taught that " the pious of all 
religions shall inherit eternal felicity ?" Baruch 
was no longer a son of Israel only; he was the child 
of humanity. It was not his descent alone that 
gave him this impulse thus to classify himself, 
though possibly it was the first motive. The spirit 
of life, the Spirit of God, seized upon him, carried 


him over all boundaries, and held him firm and free 
in blissful uncertainty. 

At first when his father called him on the mor- 
row he remembered with difficulty who and where 
he was. He returned the manuscript to his father 
and kissed his hand: he held his son's hand fast in 
his, and walked with him to the synagogue. 

Baruch answered the congratulations of those 
who waited at the door of the place of worship to 
honor him on his attainment of the Rabbinical dig- 
nity but absently and inappropriately. The people 
thought him conceited. 

This supposition had some truth in it when 
after early service on the Sunday morning he went, 
with his richly clasped folio under his arm, along 
the road to the school called the " Crown of Law." 

With what joyous haste he had formerly trodden 
that path — and now he stared confusedly about 
him, almost stumbling at every step. A feeling of 
mingled sadness and pride filled his heart: must 
he still follow this road as before; still study the 
same books, and what new thing could he find in 
them? He had attained the rank of Rabbi, .the 
highest attainable in this career, and he must go on 
studying the same subjects by which men merely 
sharpened their cleverness into conceit. He was 
familiar with all that could be learnt there; what 
was the use of eternal repetition ? But more pain- 
ful still was the thought that he had become a 


Stranger to it, for the experience of the previous 
day had lifted him above all that was customary to 
him. Was it not a sin to go on just the same as if 
nothing had happened ? The Jewish community 
and its doctrines no longer formed the heart of the 
world, all the rest being but its shell. Houses 
were built there, ships launched, streets laid out, 
indifferent to this narrow circle; bells tolled and 
called to the worship of other sanctuaries. Where 
is centred the life of the world? The boy, ripened 
into a courageous youth, would willingly have pen- 
etrated' to those eternal halls, — and it was but the 
door of the School of Law that opened to him now. 
He could not understand that this world had not 
suddenly changed to another, because it seemed to 
have changed to him. Why was it impossible, 
when thus awakened to conscious existence, to 
begin life anew ? 

The world goes on in its accustomed grooves. 

The wounds of e^rly youth heal quickly; doubts 
are soon extinguished, whether in forgetfulness or 
in habitual repression by the will. 

When Baruch had entered the school he was, as 
is the habit of youth, quickly engaged with the 
immediate interest of the moment; all others had 
vanished. Rabbi Saul Morteira pointed to the 
place on his left; that on his right hand Chisdai 
held by right of seniority. The other students sat 
at the long table in order of age or attainments, "at 


the feet of the Rabbi." The master commanded 
Baruch to read out the Friday's unfinished extract. 
It was the place in the Talmud tractate, Kiduschin, 
folio 2 2, Baruch read: 

" It is written, Deuteronomy xxi. lo: 'When thou 
goest forth to war with thine enemies, and the 
Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, 
that thou hast taken them captive, and seest among 
the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire 
unto her that thou wouldst have her to thy wife: 
. . . This indulgence is granted because the Israel- 
ites had not abstained therefrom; and it is better 
that they should do that w^hich is permitted than 
that they should do that which is forbidden. ' " 

Baruch had hardly read for a few minutes, when 
a violent dispute arose between him and Chisdai. 
The great schoolman, Rabbi Samuel Edels, had 
added a problem to this proposition, and ended 
with the words, "a solution is to be found for 

Chisdai thought he had discovered it, but one 
of the youngest scholars at the lower end of the 
table made him in a few words the butt of uni- 
versal ridicule. Chisdai sprang up, and would 
have stormed the saucy youth into silence, but 
Baruch stood up and ranged himself on the side of 
the boy. Chisdai turned to the adversary whom 
he deemed his equal; he drew himself up and 
stretched out his bedaubed fingers till they stood 



out like a palisade of notes of exclamation: he 
laughed compassionately, and with ironic aston- 
ishment shook his learned head over the weak 
grounds taken against him; but Baruch pressed 
him more and more hotly, till at last Chisdai, shak- 
ing himself free, rushed at his opponent; he seized 
him by his cloak and would not allow him to say 
another word. Chisdai struck the table, turned him- 
self from side to side, first to one and then another; 
it was all no good. Baruch had placed him in a 
dilemma by his tranquillity, from which he could 
not free himself. Chisdai sat down and bit his 
nails. Baruch quite simply explained the problem. 

*^ It seems strange to me," he then said, " that a 
thing should be permitted because it was done; 
that could be done in many another case as well." 

" The punishment of him who marries a gentile 
follows immediately," said Chisdai with a delighted 
face that no one understood but Baruch and him- 
self; " for, as the Talmud says, directly after these 
verses follow those of the rebellious son, because of 
such a marriage only the godless could be the fruit." 

Baruch did not answer him. " Then is this the 
conclusion," he inquired of the Rabbi, " that a mar- 
riage with a gentile is no sin ?" 

"You see that it is so," replied the Rabbi, "but 
only in time of war." 

" Can God make one law for war and another 
for peace ?" 


" Why not ? There are many laws that refer only 
to Palestine. Stand by the word: here it speaks 
only of war, not of peace." 

"Excuse me," persisted Baruch; "I must ask 
something else. Just after this verse it stands 
written: If a man have two wives, he loves one but 
not the other; the permission to wed many wives 
is granted for war and peace, for Palestine and other 
lands; why is it no longer so ?" 

" You know well enough that Rabbi Gerschon, 
' the Light of the Exile,' laid those of all time under 
the ban who should wed more than one wife." 

'■' But how dare he do so, since it is nowhere for- 
bidden in the Holy Scriptures; and according to 
the Talmud, King Solomon was merely forbidden 
to wed more than eighteen wives .''" 

"I believe you think," replied the Rabbi, *' that 
the Sanhedrim of Mainz did not know that as well 
as you. I cannot now explain everything, you are 
not alone here; if you ask sophistical questions, I 
cannot keep the others waiting till I answer them. 
Chisdai, read on." 

Chisdai did as commanded. The whole reading 
was in a tone commonly believed to be traditional; 
half melancholy chanting, half recitation as of a 
litany, as little according to the rules of declama-, 
mation or music as a grammar would be according 
to rule if extracted from the Babel of dialects in 
the Talmud. Each student sought to combine new 



problems from the many sophistical questions in 
the text and their numerous commentaries, again 
to be drawn out in striking syllogisms, etc. In spite 
of the license of intellectual activity shown on all 
sides, a certain defined order was unmistakable. 
The Rabbi listened carefully to all the questions, 
and then, according as he considered the solution 
easy or difficult, he called upon this one or that to 
answer it. 

Chisdai, who sat next to the Rabbi's chair, nodded 
kindly to the younger ones, whose first efforts in 
dialectic made them timid, with condescending en- 
couragement. He smiled like a general, who, in the 
anticipation of speedy advancement, claps his sub- 
ordinate good-naturedly on the shoulder when he 
has successfully led in some small skirmish. When 
a pause intervened, he brought two plainly opposed 
views of the great Maimonides into the field of 
battle, while against the views here laid down he 
brought up one of contrary signification from the 
tractate of Chetuboth, with much circumlocution 
and cunning. All were silent. 

" Now, Baruch, what do you say to that ?" asked 
the Rabbi. Baruch aroused himself as if from a 
dream, for he had been employed on a very differ- 
ent train of thought. 

*' Now Baruch, what do you say to what Chisdai 
advances ?" repeated the Rabbi. 

" He is perfectly correct," was the quick answer. 


A peal of laughter, begun by Chisdai, echoed 
from one end of the table to the other. 

" Where are your thoughts again ?" asked the 
Rabbi softly. " Not on his words alone, but on his 
thoughts, a man must place a curb. Now who can 
answer Chisdai's question ?" 

No one replied. Then Chisdai triumphantly 
brought forward a finely woven chain of arguments 
and authorities, Avith which he brilliantly solved the 
apparently insoluble problem. Baruch tried forcibly 
to master his wandering thoughts; with painful 
diligence he repeated the words of the text before 
him: it was all of no use; his mind unconsciously 
glided over the words to other subjects. He soon 
gave up the application afforded him by the whole 
discussion to his mother's history; the doubts which 
had arisen in him as to the eternal validity and im- 
mutability of the Law, he thought he had repressed 
by persuading himself that his teacher was not 
sufficiently learned to answer such questions, or 
held him as yet unworthy to partake of the tree of 
knowledge. Much that had been nearly erased 
from his memory arose within him again fresher 
than ever, and he was glad when he heard his fel- 
low pupils close their great folios, and the Rabbi 
rise with a heavy sigh. 

At home he sat down to table in silence with a 
feeling of general discontent. His father left him 
undisturbed, but Miriam looked at him inquir- 



ingly. They talked of the approaching departure 
of Rodrigo Casseres, and the anticipated company 
of his family. 

" What is the matter with you to-day, Baruch ?" 
asked his father when the meal was over. "You 
used always to recollect the saying of ' the fathers ': 
' When three sit together at table and speak no 
godly word, it is as though they partook of a 
funeral feast.' Must I remind you to read a pas- 
sage from the Mishna before grace ?" 

Baruch rose, fetched the handsome quarto, and 
repeated the paragraphs before him. To-day, for 
the first time, he found it tiresome that he could 
not put a bit between his teeth without some con- 
sideration of the old laws. 

" I have already thought about your wishes to- 
day," said his father; *' I have found you a Latin 
master. But go on reading; I will tell you after- 

Baruch read the appointed number of verses more 
quickly than usual, but not to betray to his father 
by ending too soon how much interested he was in 
the deferred information, he read two more para- 
graphs; his thoughts, however, did not follow the 
lines his eyes and mouth read. He ascribed this 
fault to his father's words, for he would not confess 
to himself, or was not fully conscious, what an im- 
measurable change had come over him. He closed 
the book, and looked expectantly at his father, who 


commanded him to repeat the long Hebrew grace. 
Lucky force of habit ! If Baruch had not repeated 
this prayer several times daily since his earliest 
childhood, he would now have made many stumbles 
therein; for while thanking God for bodily nourish- 
ment, and praying for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, 
his mind passed to the gods of Rome and Athens, 
and rejoiced in the intellectual nourishment which 
Aristotle and the Roman historians would offer 

After the " Amen" his father rose and lighted a 
cigar, saying: 

" When I have smoked this, Baruch, we will go 
together to Salomon de Silva. I bit the sour apple 
unwillingly at first, but it was so easily arranged, 
that I have quite given up all opposition. I ac- 
companied Rodrigo Casseres to the Amstel to-day, 
where he took the boat for Leyden; and as I was 
returning, our friend the Doctor met me. I doubt 
the people make much too much of your dignity of 
Rabbi; do not let them make you conceited with 
such talk." 

*' Certainly not," answered Baruch, without look- 
ing up. How changed his father was to-day ! 
Where was his Sabbath elation gone to ? 

" One must always go on advancing; that is the 
principal thing," continued his father. "While I 
was speaking to the Doctor, I recollected my prom- 
ise; and Silva said he could recommend such a 


Latin master to me, that half Europe could not 
show his equal." 

Baruch and his father went together to the phy- 

" I have been expecting you for a long time," he 
said, "and Magister Nigritius expected me to come 
to him this morning," 

The praise that Baruch now received personally 
from the physician was doubly painful to him; he 
felt so unworthy of it since his inner experiences 
and the day's events in the school. 

What if it were a foreordained necessity that he 
should become an apostate ? Baruch trembled now 
at the fulfilment of his ardently desired wish. 

If apostasy were a necessity, who could oppose 

" I have felt a disinclination," said his father, as 
the three proceeded together to the house, " to my 
son's learning Latin, and still more to letting him 
learn it from a Christian. I once heard the saying 
in the Talmud, ' Cursed is he who allows his son 
to study the learning of the Greeks.* Nothing else 
turned Acosta's head; if in all his days he had never 
seen Latin or Greek, I could swear he might now 
be living among us in peace of mind, honor and 

" With all respect for your words, my dear Ben- 
jamin," said the Doctor, " you are a skilful mer- 
chant, and know how and when to effect a sale of 

112 , SPINOZA. 

the rose-wood and cinnamon the East India Com- 
pany bring you, but in this case you must let others 
teach you. I cannot believe that you too are one 
of those who forget their own youth and would 
bring the darkness of the Poles down on us. For 
the respect and honor which we enjoy (here the 
Doctor's looks partook of pride), we have only to 
thank the fact that in secular learning we can 
speak a word as well as the others. It is another 
thing whether to learn it from a Christian or not. 
But your Baruch is so familiar with the Bible and 
the Talmud, that against any evidence they might 
adduce from the Bible for the Messiahship of Jesus, 
he could easily find counter-evidence; and it is 
generally the pious Christians who would leave 
everyone to his own faith: the freethinkers among 
the Christians are much more to be feared; they 
could ruin our youths; for he who would deny the 
foundations of all religion— he is the true betrayer. 
True learning, however, leads back again to faith." 
The learned Doctor enlarged yet more on his 
theme; for he not only wanted to show off his 
knowledge of theological and philosophical learn- 
ing, rare indeed in a physician, but wished to have 
his rude beginning forgotten. He had not finished 
when he entered the house of Magister Nigritius, 
and as he somewhat noisily mounted the five steps, 
he gave his companions regulations how to behave 
to the man whom they visited. They at last reached 



a landing, whose floor showed many cracks. The 
Doctor opened the door: a little man with a 
greenish-yellow complexion, and a neutral-tinted, 
ink-spotted dressing-gown, sprang up to meet him, 
stumbling over some folios that lay on the floor, 

'■^ Eureka carissime amice /''"^ cried the Magister. 
^^ Marsi, not Mauri, is the reading. Look, Horace 
wishes to derive the descent of Augustus from the 
God of War, and says: 

* Quern juvat clamor, galeaque leves, 
Acer et Mauri peditis cruendum 
Vultus in hostem.' f 

But the Moors are neither warlike nor brave. 
Here is a passage in Hirtius on the African war, 
where less than thirty Gauls drove two thousand 
Moorish cavalry from their position; and the Moors 
had no infantry. Also the Moors were their enemies 
then, and the conquered foe over whom Mars re- 
joices was a Roman — how stupid and unpatriotic ! 
So I read it Marsi^ and the Marsian infantry were 
the boldest among the Italians, of which there are 
many proofs in Strabo, Appian, and Vergil, and 
two passages in Horace show the same. You see, 
with this conjecture alone I can so fill the mouth 
of that boaster, Kaspar Barläus, that he will have 

* Found, my worthy friend ! 

f The din of battle and the glittering helms delight, and the 
Moorish foot-soldiers furious look at the bleeding enemy. 

1 14 SPINOZA. 

had enough for his life. Ah, my dear Doctor, 
how lucky I am to have a man to whom I can tell 
all this, and who knows how to value such a dis- 
covery! Ever since this morning I have been wait- 
ing impatiently for you. I cannot understand now 
how they could have thought for so long that the 
most refined of Romans would have praised the 
stupid Moors. Sit down, my dear Doctor/* 

The Magister placed some open books that lay 
on a chair carefully on the floor. He now first paid 
his respects to the two strangers, whom he had not 
hitherto appeared to notice. Baruch stared before 
him absently during the long commentary of^the 
Magister; he pressed his lips thoughtfully together; 
it seemed to him as if to-day all the world con- 
spired to remind him at every step of the Moorish 
origin of his mother. 

"What do they want with me,''" inquired the 
Magister irritably. The physician appeased him, 
and said they had a request to make. " Sit down 
here," the Magister said to the father, and straight- 
ened his arm-chair, covered with brown leather. 

"You, young man, sit by me on the bed." 

" Have you nearly finished the medicine ? and 
how is your cough?" inquired the physician. 

" Optime. Last night I coughed a long time in 
bed, and when I had extinguished the lamp, the 
letters still swam before my eyes; then it first 
struck me that the reading was Mar si, I cried out 


for joy. For fear I might lose the glorious discovery 
in my sleep, I sprang out of bed; but if I had 
searched myself dead I should never have found 
the tinder-box. Look! there it is. So I wrote it on 
the floor in the moonlight there with chalk. I then 
went quietly to sleep, and woke early this morning 
in a perspiration; so the cough seems to have gone 

"You must give up your former way of life," 
said the Doctor, '' and in the coming spring leave 
your cell oftener, or else I will not answer for it; if 
that chest cough comes back, a fever of joy over a 
lucky guess may not sweat it away." 

The Magister laughed in good-humored incredu- 
lity. The Doctor now brought forward his request, 
and Nigritius agreed to it, with the proviso that 
Silva must be answerable for it if the boy were not 
clever enough. 

" How old are you ?" he asked Baruch. 


"And you cannot say your declensions?" 


" Hum, hum!" grumbled the Magister. ^^Arslonga^ 
vita brevts, says Hippocrates; at fifteen Hugo Grotius 
had already made his learned edition of Martianus 
Capella, translated into Latin Stevini's art of navi- 
gation, and so amplified the 'Phaenomena' of Ara- 
tus that no one knew which wrote better Latin, 
Cicero or he. I myself, ut at minora redeam^ had, 


when I was of that age, already made such a Carmen 
that Vergil himself could not have pointed out a 
Germanism or a false quantity in it. Fifteen! But 
we will see: diligentia est mater studiorum — that is, you 
must be industrious." 

Baruch promised, and the Magister continued: 

'' You can come to me every day at this time, 
but you must not awaken me if I am asleep. 
You need not bring any books; I have everything 

When the physician had repeated his congratula- 
tions on the lucky guess, he left the house of the 
Magister with Baruch and his father. 

" You know I wish my children to learn every- 
thing, I never spare in that; but I must not make 
myself out to be greater than I am. I am not a 
rich man, so I must know what the Magister re- 
quires. I cannot give too much for Baruch alone, 
but if I win my lawsuit I may be able to spend 
more on him; now, however, I must remember that. 
I have two more children." So spoke the father, 
and the physician burst into a loud laugh. 

"What are you laughing at now?" he asked 

" Nothing, except that you take the Magister for 
a merchant; why, if he had nothing to eat to-mor- 
row, he would rather starve than ask a penny in 
pay for instruction. Like the Rabbis who think it 
a sacred task to instruct any one in the Bible an4 


Talmud, So does he with Greek and Latin. Shy as 
he is of his fellows, he holds all mankind alike deaf 
to his heart without distinction; and timid as he 
looks when people are with him, he is bold, nay, 
overbold, against them when he has hi§ pen in his 
hand, and his ever-ready companions in arms, his 
books, at his side. By means of his extraordinary 
memory he can any minute raise a whole host of 
witnesses. This Nigritius is a truly extraordinary 

" It is a dreary life to live so much alone, not a 
soul near him, only books, books; I could not live 
like that," said Baruch. 

"I believe you," answered the physician. "You 
see that is another unseen though incalculably val- 
uable point of superiority in our religion; it is im- 
possible that such hermit natures should arise within 
it. Unless some one has cut loose from all sacred 
duties, — which, God be praised, has never happened 
yet unpunished, and which would not be permitted, 
how could any one manage to live alone ? To pray 
— three times a day in company with at least ten co- 
religionists, and to attend the synagogue without 
fail every Sabbath and fast-day, these are simple 
precepts which make a hermit's seclusion impossi- 
ble. And such narrow pedantic natures, with their 
minute hair-splitting and small so-called love of 
order, which are so common in this country, you 
never meet among the Jews; that comes of their 


quick southern blood." The theologizing physician 
would willingly have followed up this newly dis- 
covered idea, but the father's curiosity interrupted 
him with the question: 

"Where does the Magister come from, and how 
does he keep himself ?" 

" He comes from Heidelberg, a German town 
on the Rhine;* his name is Schwarz, but, like all 
the learned men of the day, he has Latinized it. 
He does not like to talk of his early life; but in an 
hour of sadness he once confided to me that in 
the war which has now lasted full thirty years his 
native town was plundered and laid in ashes by the 
Imperial troops. He was fortunate enough to save 
the manuscripts taken from the University library 
to Rome that belonged to him; he fled with them, 
and remained deserted here. He had not crossed 
the boundaries of his native town twice in his life; 
in Attica, or Latium, he knew every house and every 
road; but here he did not know his way out or in. 
He joined a company of exiles and came here, where 
he has now lived for six-and-twenty years. The 
Heidelberg Library bought back his manuscripts, 
which he had enriched with valuable comments. Be- 
sides, he undertakes corrections for Gerhard Vossius, 
his countryman, and for others. The best emenda- 
tions in the ancient classics are his, and no one knows 
them to be so; but that does not trouble him. It 

* So in the original; it is on the Neckar.— TVöwj/. note. 



verges on the incredible how little his requirements 
are; study as much as he will, he is the same one 
day as another, always gay and pleasant; but he 
knows nothing of the world. He is long past sixty, 
but he is as inexperienced as a child of ten years 
old; he can tell you easily enough how many 
sesterces Crassus had for his fortune; but if he pos- 
sessed twenty stivers, and had to count them, he 
would not know what to do or say about it. It is 
well for him that he is in such an honest house; 
Klaas Ufmsand and his wife, good Gertrui, take 
care of everything for him. I tell you all this, 
Baruch, that you may never make fun of him, even 
if he is rather queer; he cannot bear ridicule. 
Even if he often thrashes empty straw, he is so 
thoroughly learned, and you can learn so much 
from him, that you must always treat him with 

" Yes, yes," said his father, "if you do not learn 
Latin with him, you never will learn it." 

From this time forth Baruch went to the Magister 
every day. He soon found out that he was not the 
man to introduce him to the famous temple of clas- 
sical antiquity, but remembering his father's threat, 
he said nothing about the disappointment of his 

He was obliged to gnaw at the hard shell of the 
rudiments of Latin grammar, while longing so ear- 
nestly to get at the nourishing kernel. Not even 


the intellectual gymnastics of his Talmud studies 
were in these empty forms, which merely required 
impressing on the memory. A student like Baruch 
required special treatment. A mind that had al- 
ready exercised itself on the highest intellectual 
questions was far beyond the degree of mere re- 
ceptiveness; and only what he could work out for 
himself he truly understood. His teacher tried to 
satisfy Baruch's impatience with the assurance 

" It is only when all the forms are in the head 
that a man can wander inoffenso pede in the paths of 
classic learning." 

Baruch by degrees learned his teacher's strange 
ways, and learned to respect and to imitate them. 
Just this steady but often painfully measured prog- 
ress, which admitted of no haste, still less allowed 
for digressions, even this hard discipline pleased 
him after the showy hair-splitting of the Talmud- 
school. He constrained himself to follow this reg- 
ulated pace, and his master appreciated the devo- 
tion, and found his scholar win on his affections, as 
he rejoiced daily more and more to find a sympa- 
thetic mind near him. He promised his pupil to 
leave him his Cicero " On the Greatest Good and 
the Greatest Evil," which he had enriched with val- 
uable marginal notes, as a legacy. 

One day when Baruch came to his tutor's house 
he received him with unusual warmth, and told 


him that he had that day deciphered one of the 
most difhcuh passages in Cicero's "Orator." The 
commentators and the later philologists had always 
given the easier reading, which would naturally be 
more convenient; but it was the sacred duty of all 
true philologists to regard the more difficult read- 
ing — just because it was the more difficult, and not 
so easily understood by every one — as the correct 
and original. 

"That is strange," said Baruch; "it seems to me 
as though, if I were crossing a barley field, and saw 
some sheaves lying there, I must say. Ay, those are 
oat sheaves that have been brought from another 
field, for to allow they were barley sheaves would 
not evince skill." 

Magister Nigritius started ; this application of 
Talmudistic sophistry to a foreign, if not wholly 
unkindred subject, disgusted him. He assured 
Baruch that the transcriber of a difficult passage 
would of course be willing to find an easier turn for 
it; it was therefore his duty, if there were sense in 
the more difficult reading, to prefer it. 

Baruch was satisfied by this representation: the 
acuteness of reasoning that thereby came into play 
attracted him, but still unsatisfied he felt the long- 
ing for that new world of serene beauty which 
should have been opened to him. The increasing 
chest disease of the Magister, and the secret dissat- 
isfaction between him and Baruch, made the in- 


struction henceforward irregular and little profit- 

At this time Rabbi Saul began the tractate Eru- 
bin with his scholars, and to facilitate the solution 
of the geometrical problems there given, he under- 
took a thorough course of mathematics according 
to the Hebrew translation of Euclid. The restless 
intellect of Baruch found sufficient employment 
therein, and he also devoted himself again with un- 
divided zeal to the study of the Talmud. He hoped 
thus to re-find his former peace. His immediate 
pleasure in this study had grown less, and yet he 
still aspired with a perfectly ravenous craving to- 
wards the fuller satisfaction of his longing for 
knowledge. He did not tell any one his opinion, 
nor confide in any one. For it is inherent in the 
nature of a young growing human being, as it is in 
every growth of nature in general, that, by means 
of its power of attraction, its absorption far exceeds 
its loss by rejection; thus its vital principle grows 
and ripens into its destined form. In quietude as 
of sleep the mind of the youth awoke to the sur- 
prise of his own consciousness, and the insight of 



HONEST Mynheer Dodimus de Vries conscien- 
tiously entered the date 24th October, 1648, 
in conscientious clerkly style in his ledger, and wrote 
underneath how much wool, saffron, and ginger 
had arrived, and how much cheese, sugar, and tea 
he had that day despatched. Afternoon tea was 
delicious, and Mynheer de Vries told his dear 
spouse that he had still seven hundredweight and 
a half of that sort in his warehouse that would be 
worth more every day, for the celebrated Dr. Beve- 
rocius had written a treatise wherein he plainly 
proved that tea was a preservative from all mala- 
dies, and the East India Company had had this 
treatise printed and circulated at their own expense. 
Hereupon he slept softly and smiled in his dreams 
like a child, but had no notion of the sweet sur- 
prise Mevrouw de Vries was preparing for him. 
Of the tulip bulbs of the rarest sorts and varied 
sizes and species which she cultivated in her garden 
she built a pyramid on the writing table opposite 
the sleeper, so that when the happy man awoke 
his eyes were met by the ingenious edifice. He 
embraced his stout better-half heartily, and went 


gayly and happily to his counting-house. It was a 
lucky day, a day like all others, except for the extra 
pleasure of the tulip pyramid. What in the world 
could happen more than usual ? 

Three gorgeously dressed heralds rode at a sharp 
trot with sound of trumpets through the streets of 
Amsterdam, without drawing rein until they reached 
the Town Hall. The hammers stopped in the 
smithies, the weaver's shuttle hung on the loom, 
the tradesman wiped his pen, the banker straight- 
ened his spectacles on his nose, locked his black 
box, and pulled a second time at the padlock to 
make sure that it was safely locked. Our Mynheer 
de Vries laid the blotting-paper thoughtfully on 
the freshly written page, closed his ledger, and 
locked it in the desk; then Mevrouw brought him 
his wig and gold-headed cane. 

" My love, have you noticed nothing strange 
about me ? I am expecting all day long that some- 
thing extraordinary is going to happen to the world." 
So said Mynheer de Vries, and he took his son Simon 
by the hand and went to the Town Hall to hear 
the news which he had anticipated. 

But it was not so quiet in the houses of the town 
councillors; every hand and every foot therein was 
set in motion to bring the robes and clothe the 
stately person of the master; nothing would set well 
in the hurry, and the stern old councillor scolded 
over his wife's want of order, and tried to put 


things into a form worthy of his dignity on the 
way. It required all his importance to force his 
way to the entrance of the Town Hall through the 
crowd which had assembled there. Artisans with 
their aprons still tied on and their bare, sinewy 
arms folded; clerks with their pens behind their 
ears, and ink on their fingers; porters who had set 
down their loads and seated themselves thereon; 
soldiers, idlers, women and children, all stood hud- 
dled together, and exchanged conjectures on the 
arrivals. One loitering dandy praised the light 
trot of the horses and the fine work on the robes 
of the heralds; they fitted as if grown to them, and 
must have been made either in Madrid or Paris, 
civilization was as yet too backward in this coun- 
try; no Amsterdam tailor knew how to give a waist- 
coat such an undeniable cut. An apple-woman 
admired to her neighbor the rich gold embroidery, 
and the breadth and brilliancy of the herald's rib- 
bons, and an apprentice remarked to his compan- 
ion that those must be Utrecht ribbons, as they had 
some in the warehouse which they sold at four and 
a half stivers the yard to gain five and twenty per 
cent. On the right hand corner of the Town Hall 
a tall lean figure had planted himself, his legs care- 
lessly crossed as he whistled a tune. 

"A good thing you are here, Flyns," shouted 
several porters. " You can tell us for certain what 
the golden birds that h^ve flown up there have in 


their beaks; you have shaved the chins of more 
than ten town councillors to-day; you ought to 
know what is going on in the United Netherlands. 
Have we captured a silver fleet or something of 
that sort ? The devil ! You have a face like a 
mynheer on the pier when he hears his ship has 
foundered." They all shouted together, and the 
barber tried to get away so that his dignified ap- 
pearance might check their impertinence. 

"Holla! stop! that won't do," they cried. "In 
the Thunderbolt there with a full glass of gin you 
may know everything as well or better than the 
Grand Pensioner himself, and you can tell us all 
about it there; now, brother, show us how much 
you know, and if any one says you lie we will tan 
his hide for him till he can't see or hear." 

Their clenched fists showed that they meant to 
keep their promise, but Flyns answered none the 
more, and tried to get away from his evidently un- 
pleasant surroundings. 

" Let him alone," said one; "the chin scraper has 
always shaved us over a spoon.* Why should he be 
there if he knew any more than we do. He must wait 
as well as we till they throw us something down." 

" Ha, ha !" they all laughed; "good, but you will 
have to wait too, you see." 

"I only wait," said Flyns, "to amuse myself by 

* Taken us in. 


seeing you march off with the wind in your ears. 
You herring-hearts, you think they ought to grease 
your dirty mouths with the news boiling hot. Go 
to ! Eat your dinners, there is nothing here for 
such lubbers as you. Off" with you; if I did not 
know my own place I should despise myself for 
having so much in common with you. That comes 
of being too good, and not keeping one's proper 
position continually before one's eyes. You have 
seen too much of me." 

" Nay, nay, we did not mean that; you must not 
go away angry," they all cried. " If the little rat- 
catcher says a word against you we will stop his 
mouth so that it will bulge like a woolsack that has 
lost its hoop. Don't be cross, and tell us all about 
it; you surely know." 

Thus invited and flattered he fell back into his 
former easy position, and began: 

"Do you remember what I said when we went 
home yesterday evening, and saw fiery hosts fight- 
ing in the eastern heavens ? You will soon see 
what will come of it. I did not forget it. When I 
went early this morning to rich Van Kampen, who 
lives near the Oude Kerk, to shave him, he made a 
face like a cat in thunder; he is always close, noth- 
ing to be got out of him; but I laid my plans and 
learned from him without his knowing it that the 
war is going well at last. As for the Spaniard, we 
have done with him long ago; he can say no more. 


But, my brethren, you will stare your eyes out with 
astonishment, and we may pave a whole country 
with men's heads. The Turk, as I said a short 
time ago, won't rest, and would like to give Austria 
a slap. But look ! There that puffy- cheeked mas- 
ter rope-maker, Reuwerz, is on a cask, and babbles 
something to the monkey-faced creatures that stand 
round him. That lot are unendurable. Since the 
rope-maker, Michel Ruyter, has become a hero of 
the sea every one thinks if he can twist a cable of 
tow he must have the making of an admiral in him. 
Every apprentice who turns a windlass thinks we 
have to thank him for the hundred ships of war 
and the hundred merchantmen we could send to 
sea any day; and a boy who has not a hair in front 
of his ears babbles about freedom and rights. But 
there is no God in Heaven if things do not change 
again soon. Then men of stc.nding and education 
were something; my father was first valet — " 

"Ay, there you warm to the old story again; we 
have heard that a hundred times, and have always 
told you we will have none of the Orange rule. 
Stadtholders they may be, we have nothing to say 
against that, but under their rule we might starve, 
and now we have enough to eat if we don't sit with 
our hands in our laps." 

So said Maessen Blutzaufer, who spoke for his 
comrades, and before the barber could look round 
he was deserted by his audience, 



" Hurrah for the United Provinces !" shouted one 
of the crowd, and, as if by electricity, all the assem- 
bly roared, " Hurrah for the United Provinces !" 
till the window-panes clattered with the shout. 
When silence ensued again, they all pressed round 
the master rope-maker who was still speaking. 

"Brethren!" he cried, "obedience is the first 
duty of true citizens, obedience to the laws, and 
respect and regard for governors, whom we no 
longer receive from foreign tyrants, but whom we 
elect from among ourselves. I have heard many 
among you grumble that free citizens of the Repub- 
lic are made to wait down here, while those above 
sit behind locked doors, and keep for themselves 
the state secrets which belong to us all, one as much 
as another. You all know, brethren, I love free- 
dom as much as any one. Without thinking twice 
I would hang my best halter round the neck of my 
own son if I heard that he was a traitor to free- 
dom, or might become one. I hate those court flat- 
terers, who would make themselves out better than 
we, as I hate Old Nick. So you may trust me 
that I mean well by you when I persuade you to 
be quiet. There may be cases in which the fathers 
of the Republic hold it better not to trumpet the 
news to every wind. Think for yourselves; there 
might be traitors among us !" 

" Down with traitors ! Hurrah for freedom !" 
burst from the crowd in one enthusiastic shout. 


" Therefore, brethren," continued the orator, 
"whatever may come, war or peace, on water or 
on land, we have the handle in our own hands, and 
we will not let it be wrenched out. We have won 
our freedom, we can protect it." 

The cry of " Hurrah for Hooft ! Hurrah for the 
States General I" here interrupted the orator, for 
on the balcony of the Town Hall appeared old 
Drost Hooft, and with him the town councillors, 
as many as the balcony would hold. Attentive 
silence reigned while Drost thanked them and 

" Brother citizens, a slight accident has prevented 
me from sooner imparting the news which must fill 
the heart of every one with joy and thankfulness. 
Yesterday the thirty years of the horrors of war, 
and the seven years' peace conference at last came 
to an end. Honorable and favorable conditions for 
the United Provinces are in the treaty, to which 
all the powers of Europe have sworn. Above all, 
Spain, with the approval of all Europe, has ac-* 
knowledged the perfect independence of our Re- 
public. It is merely a point of honor, nothing 
more, for we have not waited for them to present 
us with our freedom; we have won it with the help 
of God and our own good swords. Our rightful 
conquests in Brabant, Flanders and Limburg, the 
right to close the Scheid at will, and other privileges 
remain to us. Rejoice and thank God, for it is he 




who decrees man to leave the sword in the sheath, 
that peace may be between Christian and Chris- 
tian. Pray to him that he may preserve the peace. 
Love God, and guard our liberties !" 

" Hurrah for freedom !" echoed and re-echoed 
the cheers of the dispersing crowd through every 
street, till at last it was lost in the clang of the 
bells which spread the news of the peace through 
the air. 

It was a glorious, impressive sight to see the life 
of a people as it can only spring from the conscious- 
ness of a happily won and gladly enjoyed peace. 
Many indeed could not accustom themselves to the 
thought that the peace really existed, as one who is 
freed from a heavy burden still feels its pressure, 
even when he has long been relieved from it. 

The pious were the first to accustom themselves 
to the new state of affairs, for they had found it 
plainly revealed in the prophecies of Daniel and 
the Revelations of St. John that this year, whose 
number, divided and added, gave the sacred num- 
bers twelve and seven, must be a year of peace 
and blessedness; and they went home, and called 
their children and their household together, and 

"Watch and pray, for the Millennium, the reign 
of the Lord has arrived; the promise will be ful- 
filled, and the Lord will enter into his glory." 

Those, however, who had not so much faitli 


trusted in the seven seals and the signatures of the 
European powers, and were content therewith. 

As Mynheer de Vries went home he said to his 
son Simon, " Have you given your full attention ? 
Such a day as this, please God, you will never see 
in your life again." But any one a little way off 
would not have found out from his walk and bear- 
ing that Mynheer de Vries had thus explained to 
his son that greatest of benefits — a citizen's free- 
dom. He spoke with such quiet thoughtfulness, so 
devoid of all outward excitement, evincing that 
immovable tenacity of the Netherlanders, who, even 
where their passions were concerned, still held to 
the national ideal, the " makklyk," the comfortable. 
At home Mynheer Dodimus embraced his beloved 
wife in an ecstasy of joy. 

" See, my dear," he said, pointing to the tulip 
bulbs, " they can grow on peaceful ground, and my 
tea has risen a third in price, for the soldiers who 
are now coming home have not drunk tea for so 
long that they will enjoy it all the more." 

He sat down to table quietly and in silence, and 
endeavored to control the extraordinary excitement 
which had disturbed him during the day. That 
evening he drank half a glass more than his usual 
quantity; he did not speak a word at table, and 
before tea came in he slept in peace. 

It is a good thing that the house of the De Vries 
is far from the Thunderbolt ale-house. The shouts 



and cheers that echoed from there would certainly 
have awakened the good man from his slumbers. 
There sat the whole gang of porters, and made 
themselves happy with gin. The popular " Het 
daghet uyt den Osten" was sung to an end, and 
Maessen Blutzaufer had struck up " Wilhelmus van 
Nassau," when he was interrupted by a tremendous 

" Hold ! here comes Judas the archknave, the 
false prophet; stone him, crucify him, drown him !" 
they all shouted together as Flyns entered. 

" Now answer for it, why did you take us in this 
morning ?" cried one. Flyns stood his ground and 
smiled condescendingly. His father had not been 
first valet to Prince Maurice of Nassau for nothing; 
he had inherited so much of diplomatic talent from 
him. He let the revellers stop blustering. 

" Are you ready ?" he asked quietly. " You don't 
understand a joke; I only wanted to make you look 

" But that is lying and rascally cheating," cried 
the little man. 

"Lie down, you rat-catcher," retorted Flyns; "if 
you bark like that again I will grind your crooked 
bones to meal, and sell it for rat-poison." 

" Be quiet, be quiet, no disputes, we must have 
peace everywhere. Give him your hand," they all 
cried, and Flyns sat down with his friends. 

" So here we sit," said Maessen Blutzaufer, " and 



ten horses shall not drag me from my seat. And 
if the Emperor of Japan came, dressed like the one 
in the East India House, and said, ' Take me that 
gold chest two houses farther and you shall earn a 
thousand stivers,* I should say, * Emperor, take a 
glass; to-day I cannot serve you; sit down with us 
here; we are all emperors as good as you;' and if 
the Grand Pensioner himself sent for you, you 
should not move from this spot, Flyns. No beard 
shall come to harm to-day; even the beards shall 
have peace." 

" You all rejoice over the peace," said Flyns, 
"and you don't know what name the child has." 

*' Well, what is it called ?" 

"The everlasting peace." 

" Vivat ! Hurrah for the everlasting peace !" 
they all cried, and emptied their glasses to the dregs. 
Flyns prophesied the return of the jolly times of 
Jacob van Artevelde in Ghent, and told them that 
in* those old times, by wise management and ex- 
tensive trade connection, men need only work two 
days a week, and might sit in the ale-house all the 
rest. It was a tempting bait, and each one had 
his own ideal of how to enjoy it. Maessen Blut- 
zaufer alone would hear nothing of it, and asserted 
that it would be less godless to have no Sunday at 
all than five a week. The jolly company revelled 
far into the night, and then stumbled singing and 
cheering home. 


Everywhere joy and merrymaking prevailed, in 
church and tavern as well as in the family circle, 
for peace was spread over the whole of Christendom. 
Peace to all religions. Peace in heaven, and peace 
on earth. 

Only on the town-wall one soul mourned over 
vanished peace, that no treaty made by earthly 
potentates could restore, for the covenant of Heaven, 
the Law of Moses lay torn before him. In the 
library of the School of the Crown of the Law 
Baruch Spinoza sat alone. Before him was Ebn 
Esra's Commentary on the five Books of Moses, of 
the difficulties and obscurities of which study his 
teacher had often warned him. There were two 
passages the solution of which had long occupied 
him. On the history of the waters of strife 
(Numbers xxix.) that were drawn from the rock 
he found this commentary: " I will here point out 
what appears to me to be the right explanation. 
Understand, if the part knows the whole he com- 
prehends it, and thereby can do miracles." The 
passage (Numbers xiii.) "I cannot go beyond the 
commandment of the Lord," he explains thus: 
" The creature cannot alter the work of the Creator 
or his law; the mystery is, a part cannot alter the 
other part, but only the law of the whole can alter 
that of a part. I can penetrate this mystery no 
further for it is deep; at any rate the she-ass spoke. 
When you have found out the secret of the angels 



of Abraham and of Jacob you will penetrate the 
truth of this." 

The passage where it says, " When you under- 
stand the secret of the twelve," etc. Baruch under- 
stood more easily. A kindred spirit here attracted 
him; he recognized the caution and diligent veiling, 
and boldly and freely gave this result, that inde- 
pendent reason and traditional faith can only be 
reconciled by mutual compulsion. It was made 
clear to him that not the whole of the contents of 
the Holy Scriptures were written by inspired men; 
the glory had vanished; the whole was the work of 
man. How could profane hands in later ages meddle 
in the writings of God ? Who was the author of 
the Bible ? who its commentator ? Dare any one 
require an answer to this question, and who could 
give it ? Who ? 

Baruch read the passage commenting on Genesis 
xii. 6. which the prudent Spaniard finishes with 
these words, "And whoever has penetrated this 
mystery, let him keep silence," "Yes, I will keep 
silence," said Baruch to himself. Buried in thought 
he recollected another assertion of Ebn Esra's, that 
there is but one substance, and that is God, and 
that God is the first category of the ten categories 
of Aristotle, as the number one is the root of all 
numbers; and marvellous was the explanation to 
the almost incomprehensible verse, Job xxiii. 13. 
" But he is in one mind, and who can turn him ?" 



The word /«, Ebn Esra explains, appears super- 
fluous here, but is not so indeed; " I cannot explain 
it, for herein lies a great secret." 

What was the use of these enigmatical directions ? 
What was the use of explaining and searching into 
one word, one particle, if it were nothing more 
than the often defective and involved expression 
of a mere man ? Baruch shut the book quickly 
and turned over the leaves of another, for he heard 
steps approaching the library. Chisdai Astruk 
and Ephraim Cardoso entered. Chisdai held out 
his perpetually damp, lobster-red hand of friendship 
to Baruch, and looked at the book to see what he 
was reading. Chisdai had rather a tall figure, a 
little bowed, and long black eyebrows, whose ends 
encroached on his forehead; he always screwed them 
together so that the hair stood out like bristles; his 
not unhandsome but full forehead was nearly hid- 
den by his untidy long black hair; the expression 
of his brown eyes was not recognizable on account 
of his large round spectacles. The wearing of 
these had a special signification, for the orthodox 
Jews as well as Christians forbade the practice as 
an unseemly innovation. What ground the Chris- 
tians took on the question we cannot tell; the Jews 
probably had no other but the fact that Joshua and 
Caleb wore no spectacles, and yet had seen every- 
thing distinctly. While Chisdai excused himself 
to the orthodox on the score of short-sight, hq 


nevertheless liked to please the more enlightened, 
whose number was not small in the Amsterdam 
congregation, by this adoption of a novelty, and 
appear as a young man of advanced cultivation. 
In the heat of controversy he was continually 
obliged to put these significant instruments in their 
right place, for, indeed, his nose did not seem to be 
made for these evidences of western civilization; 
they continually slipped over the bridge, from 
whence his nose bent to a sharp point like a beak. 
His wide mouth always formed a half smile, for 
Chisdai was always mindful of the precept of the 
Talmudist, that no pious Jew must laugh out- 
right as long as the Holy City of Jerusalem 
is laid waste, that it may be fulfilled as it is written, 
Ps. cxxvi. I, 2, "When the Lord turned again the 
captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream; 
then was our mouth filled with laughter." A 
strange contrast to the rest of Chisdai's face, dis- 
torted by an eternal grimace, was the well-cut 
rounded chin on which the long hair began to 
darken, for he was four years older than Baruch. 
He never shaved this beard. Besides the appointed 
fast- days he fasted every Monday and Thursday, 
and every Friday he dipped nine times in fresh 
well water, which nevertheless did not lessen the 
unattractive nature of his appearance. Wherever 
he went or stayed he hummed inaudibly an extract 
from the Mishna, or a synagogue melody, and 


when he sat he moved his crossed legs in palsied 
jerks. When Chisdai was seated he said to Baruch: 

"You are well met just now, you shall be arbi- 
trator between me and Ephraim; but promise not 
to give half answers as you usually do, and do not 
be so close; I do not see why you should be. Are 
we not brethren ?" 

" In what am I so close ?" inquired Baruch. 

" I will not explain now, we will leave that for 
another time. So that you may be quite impartial 
I will not tell you which is which of our views. 
But to speak out. Do you believe in the existence 
of angels ?" 

" That is another strange question," answered 

" Now, to put it another way,*' continued the 
other, " must we believe in the existence of an- 
gels ?" 

" That is the same question. But are we not 
Jews ? Must we not believe in the Bible, and in 
all the goodly rows of books behind those wire 
doors ?" 

" But what is there in the Bible about the state 
of angels ?" 

"You know as well as I do," answered Baruch. 

"But what does the Bible say about the state of 
angels ? Are they material or immaterial ?" 

" You have a whole list of examples," answered 
Baruch, "and may choose at will. Abraham, Ha- 


gar and Lot, Isaac, Abimelech and Jacob, angels 
appeared to them all. They first set a fresh-killed 
calf and fresh cakes before them; with Jacob one 
wrestled the whole night long, and at last sprained 
his right thigh, for which reason to this day we are 
not allowed to eat the hinder part of a slain beast. 
Have you not enough of angels ? If you wish for 
yet more material ones, an angel appeared to Ba- 
laam, and the ass saw him first; an angel appeared 
to Joshua with a drawn sword; an angel appeared 
twice to Samson's mother, after which she bore 
her godless giant child. To Samuel and David 
angels appeared everywhere. Do you want a 
whole court of angels? In the very first chapter of 
Hezekiah there is a great array of them. I once 
heard the late Acosta say that court angels must 
have been much more fortunate than our present 
courtiers, for they had in fact four wings, four 
hands, and, what is better still, four faces; a man's, 
a lion's, an ox's, and an eagle's face, and wherever 
they went they followed straight the face that best 
pleased them. If you want immaterial angels, it is 
written (Ps. civ. 4) ' Who maketh his angels spirits.* " 

" Do you not believe in bad angels ?" asked 

" Do you believe, and do you believe ! You 
ought to ask what is written, and, as far as I know 
our Bible, there is nothing in it about such a Satan 
or devil ^s the Christians believe in, Th'<& history 


of Job, according to the Talmud, is merely a poem. 
To God everything is good; it is only to us men 
that many things appear bad, as it stands in our 
glorious Isaiah (xlv. 6, 7), '■ I am the Lord and there 
is none else; I form the light and create darkness; 
I make peace and create evil ! ' " 

" But can there not be bad angels ?" 

" No; the distinctive mark of an angel is that he 
is a mere tool of God without free will. Satan is 
said to be a fallen angel who rebelled against God; 
but that could never happen if God did not rebel 
against himself." 

" In the Midrasch the origin of bad angels is 
very well explained," said Ephraim, who had till 
then listened in silence. "Whenever an angel 
wished to become visible on earth he must imbibe 
a material essence, and none could be permitted to 
stay longer on earth than seven days. Once sev- 
eral exceeded this limit, and through their length- 
ened sojourn they had imbibed so much material 
essence that, thus overweighted, they could not 
rise to heaven. Such is the origin of the devil by 
which Genesis vi. 2 is explained." 

"That may be very fine," said Baruch, "but is 
it true ? How could an angel overstep the laws of 
his being?" 

" So you do not believe in the existence of bad 
angels ?" put in Chisdai. 

"There you are again with your 'Do you be- 



lieve ! ' " answered Baruch angrily, " I know as 
well as you do that the daily Kadish prayer in the 
synagogue is repeated in Chaldaic because the bad 
angels cannot understand the idiom, and because 
no contrary petition can prevail against it with 
God; I know as well as you that by the Shophar* 
trumpet on New Year's day Satan is confounded, 
and a good year for Israel obtained.'* 

Ephraim then expounded the view taken by the 
great and learned Maimonides, who explained 
away angelic appearances as mere prophetic vi- 

" That borders on heresy ! that is abominable !" 
cried Chisdai. 

"Agreed," responded Baruch, with an odd smile. 
" It is absurd, useless babble if Maimonides twists 
his own inventions out of the Scriptures and ex^ 
plains supernatural revelations away as dreams. 
That is half-heartedness. He had not the courage 
to say * Thus the Scripture teaches and thus rea- 
sons.' " Baruch here stopped; he saw how far he 
had let himself be led on. He read for awhile in a 
book, and soon after left the room. 

" There he goes," said Chisdai to Ephraim, " he 
will be a second Acosta." 

* A kind of horn upon which no melody is played, only a 
tremolo of whole tones and semitones; probably an obsolete 
war note. 



*' You have tried so ingeniously to lead him on 
to bad speeches," responded Ephraim; " let him go 
his own way." 

" No," said Chisdai, and continued in the words 
of the Talmud, " In religious matters each Israelite 
has to answer for the other. On me, on thee, and 
on us all lies the burden of sin which he commits." 
He then left the room muttering to himself. 




AT dusk Baruch and Miriam sat together, while 
old Chaje told them a marvellous story. 

''Do you know that our servant for the Sabbath, 
old Elsje, came to a terrible end this night ? I see 
green and yellow before my eyes whenever I think 
of it, and of what might have happened to us all, 
and I have sat with her for hours by this fireside. 
In old times, though, we used to hear of far more 
wonderful things; my mother often used to tell me 
how the synagogue in Warsaw was on fire once, 
and the fire had nearly reached the windows, but 
the Rabbi, who was a great Baal Shem,* threw a 
parchment on which he had written some secret 
words into the flame, and it went out like a puffed- 
out candle. Thank God ! there are some pious men 
left who can control the Schedim." f 

" You talk such things that no one can tell what 
you mean," said Miriam, and Chaje replied: 

" I heard the whole story at the butcher's from 
black Gudul; her sister is servant in the house of 
the pious Rabbi Isaak Aboab. What a sweet child 

* Exorcist. f Demon. 



Rabbi Aboab's Sara was ! I was always afraid she 
would be bewitched, and nearly a year ago her face 
went as black as a coal, and instead of speaking 
clearly and pleasantly, she shrieked out such words 
as one never heard in this world from a girl of 
fifteen, and wrung her hands as if she had the 
gout. Every one said she was bewitched and had 
a spirit. No doctor or apothecary could do any 
good. Rabbi Isaak wept and prayed the whole 
night long, so that he might have softened a stone 
in the wall. Since the misfortune befell him he 
has fasted from one Sabbath to another; he only 
takes soup and a couple of figs every night. 
Yesterday he went to the Mikwe,* and dipped nine 
times; when he went home he put on his winding 
sheet, had his chair brought from the synagogue, 
and his daughter placed in it; four men had to carry 
her and bind her in it, the spirit struggled so. 
When all the people had gone out he fastened 
Psalm cxxx. to all the doors and windows in the 
house, and forbade them to admit any one that 
night, however they might beg and pray; no one 
must attempt to open a door or window on pain 
of death. God forbid ! Then he built up sacred 
books round the chair as high as Sara, and took a 
clean un-notched slaughtering-knife, and went nine 
times round Sara with it; then, as she had a loud 

* Bath for purification. 


rattling in her throat, he put a parchment with 
some holy words on it on her heart, and on the left 
side of the chair he put the slaughtering-knife. 
When all this was done he opened the holy chest 
in the corner, and took the Thora in his left hand 
while he opened a window with the other. Then 
he laid the Thora quickly on the table on which 
six black wax-lights burned, and as he unrolled the 
Thora he bent over it, threw himself on his knees, 
and called on the name of God and all angels so 
that all who heard him felt their blood run cold. 
Then he took the Shophar, and blew it as on New 
Year's Day, till they thought the Messiah was com- 
ing. Twelve o'clock had hardly struck when there 
came a knocking at the door, as if a hundred men 
were battering it with clubs. 

" ' Open, open, pray, I entreat you, open — have 
mercy — I shall die — open, it is Elsje, it is I, 
open ! * 

" So the voice cried outside, and the spirit in 
Sara began to scream again, so that you could hear 
it ten houses off. No one attempted to open it. 
Rabbi Aboab still went on praying and screaming, 
and calling on God and the angels till he had no 
voice left. At last all was still outside, and Sara 
too was quiet, and when they looked at her a black 
liquid like ink was pouring out of her right ear on 
to the knife. It was quite clean before, but there 
was a drop of blood as well on it now. 

THE CA BB A LI ST. 1 47 

" * Thank God ! ' said Rabbi Aboab; ' my child is 

** They took Sara to bed, and this morning she 
got up as fresh and well and prettier than ever; 
she knew nothing about it all, but thought she had 
slept a long time. Elsje came home last night 
about twelve o'clock with her mouth foaming, and 
as she took hold of the lock of her room door she 
fell down dead. You may believe it all, for black 
Gudul's sister looked through the keyhole of Rabbi 
Aboab's door. God is great to have left such men 
still among us; but just imagine, children, who 
would have thought that Elsje was such a cursed 
witch ? Who knows how many children she may 
have bewitched ? And the ingratitude of it ! She 
might have starved if she had not earned a stiver 
or two from the Jews as Sabbath servant. Many 
a good bit have I got for her. I am afraid to 
be two minutes alone in the kitchen; I always ex- 
pect Elsje to come down the chimney in the form 
of a black cat, or like a witch with fiery eyes, 
snakes on her head, and a broomstick in her bony 
hand. Ugh ! I should die of fright," 

Suddenly there was a tremendous thud on the 
ceiling of the room so that the house shook; cla- 
mor and distant wailing were heard ; the old woman 
screamed " Shema Israel !" Miriam clutched her 
brother's hand. All stood still to listen to the dis- 
tant wailing. 


" Come and bring a light," said Baruch rising, 
"We must see what is there." Chaje, with trem- 
bling hands, put a candle in the lantern, and, upon 
her urgent entreaties, Baruch was obliged to take 
his Thephillin* in his hand that no evil thing 
might have power over them. Miriam went with 
him, for she was afraid to be left in the room alone, 
and even Baruch could not repress a slight shudder 
as he mounted the stairs to the granary. When 
they arrived there they found a chest, which had 
long hobbled on three legs, overthrown. " So that 
was it," said Baruch laughing; a black cat limped 
from behind the chest, and disappeared through 
the window in the roof. 

'* Have mercy on our sins, it is Elsje !" screamed 
old Chaje, and let the lantern fall in her fright. 
The three remained in the dark, and speedily left 
the place that appeared so haunted. Chaje and 
Miriam held on to Baruch's coat-tails as they stum- 
bled down the stairs. 

Baruch regarded this little event in his home life 
in its true light, but the enigmatical incantations of 
Rabbi Aboab strengthened his determination to 
endeavor by all means to penetrate the mysteries 
of the black art. The Cabbala, of which every one 
spoke in wonder and with bated breath, might con- 
tain the solution of his doubts and questions; the 

* Amulet inscribed with texts. 




initiated might form a community of the wise. 
The next day, Thursday, he went to Rabbi Aboab. 
He was a man in what is called the prime of life, 
of stalwart figure; his many fasts had not much 
injured him, for he looked in excellent condition; 
his round face and ruddy cheeks, his black beard 
falling to his breast, might have been called hand- 
some, and were only disfigured by a large wart 
over his left eye, which wagged merrily when he 
spoke, and above all when he laughed. 

Baruch was cordially received, but when he 
brought forward his request the Rabbi replied 

" No, that cannot be; do you not know that Rabbi 
Salomo ben Adereth has forbidden under penalty 
of excommunication that any one should be intro- 
duced to the study of the Cabbala before his twenty- 
fifth year ?" 

Baruch warmly entreated him. 

" Do you know too," the Rabbi continued, " that 
if you have — God forbid it ! — the slightest worldly 
motive in the study of the Cabbala; if merely an 
incongruous thought mixes therein, your own life 
and the lives of all belonging to you are in some 
inexplicable danger? Can you trust yourself? Dare 
you face the risk ? Will you ?" 

" I will," answered Baruch in a firm voice. 

Without another word the Rabbi took Baruch's 
left hand in his, and studied the fine lines marked 



on the palm; then he pushed his hat back from his 
brow, and studied the lines of his face for awhile. 
Then he thoughtfully paced the room; firmly and 
mildly he did his utmost to dissuade Baruch from 
his purpose. Baruch was almost moved to tears, 
but, with a trembling voice, he still reiterated his 
firm determination without irresolution. *'We]l, 
so be it," said the Rabbi at last. " I am afraid you 
will only endanger yourself and perish, but I will 
be your leader. God will lead me in the way of 
truth. Come to me to-night after evening ser- 

The synagogue keeper Elasar Merimon could 
not repress his astonishment when he saw the 
youth coming with the Rabbi to the Mikwe. 

" Peace be with you. Rabbi Baruch," he said, and 
grinned curiously. 

The Rabbi commanded him to say nothing to 
any one of Baruch's presence there, and to go away 
himself as he did not need him that day. He took 
the key and lantern, and opened the tower-like 
edifice. The dull light of the lantern illuminated 
but dimly the bare, dusky walls and wooden benches 
around; in the middle was a well-like hole that was 
the bath. The Rabbi mutterqd a prayer and un- 
dressed carefully, observing all the while the pre- 
cepts from the " Book of Chastity" written above. 
He had not quite undressed when he seized the 
lantern, and with rapid strides descended the thirty 





Stone steps of the bath. " Out of the depths I cry 
unto thee, O Lord ! He hears me afar off, O my 
God !" he cried with all his strength, and his voice 
echoed weirdly from the depths of the well. Baruch 
shuddered to hear in the quiet night a soul crying 
to God, as it were, from the depths of the earth, for 
redemption and resurrection. The Rabbi placed 
the lantern on the lowest step of the bath, and 
threw himself with a splash into the water. At 
this sign Baruch laid himself down at the edge of 
the well, and nine times, whenever the Rabbi raised 
his head from the water and again dived, he cried 
" Koscher" (pure) into the illuminated vault. 

The Rabbi came out again half dressed and with 
his head covered; his long beard, still dripping, and 
his lank matted hair gave his usually homely face 
a wild appearance. He gave Baruch a little book 
in which a prayer was written; the names of the 
angels therein must not be pronounced by lip or 
tongue on pain of death, but only repeated in 
thought. Baruch trembled with fear as he de- 
scended the dark pit, his knees gave way, but he 
took courage, and sprang lightly into the water. 
The Rabbi then undertook the same service that 
Baruch had performed for him; he too called the 
word of purification nine times across the well. 

Without another word they left the Mikwe. 

When they entered the street, lighted by the pale 
rays of the moon, Rabbi Aboab stood suddenly still, 



and shook his head as he gazed at the long shadow 
which imitated his movements; then, looking heav- 
enwards, he repeated the text usually said on awak- 

" I thank thee, O living and eternal King ! that 
through thy constant and great favor thou hast given 
me my soul again." Baruch did not venture to ask 
the reason of these proceedings; probably Rabbi 
Aboab had not yet taught him the saying of the 
Cabbala: "Whoever on the 'night of the sign'* 
sees his full shadow in the moonlight will not die 
that year." 

Rabbi Isaak Loria saw his shadow headless that 
night, and he died the day before the year ended. 

Rabbi Aboab was gay and good-humored that 
evening when Baruch supped with him. The no- 
vice took care to bestow a glance on the fair Sara, 
from whom the evil spirit had been driven, and 
who, while she served the meal, shyly stared at the 
pale youth whose fame had spread through the 
whole congregation. 

Rabbi Aboab sat long at table, and it was late 
at night when he led Baruch into his study, and 
taking the Thora from the sacred chest, unrolled 
it at the place where stood the ten commandments. 

Baruch then must lay his right hand thereon, and 
speak thus: 

* About 27th September. 


"I call on thee, God Almighty and Incompre- 
hensible, who hast confided the secrets of thy exist- 
ence to Adam, Enoch, Abraham, and Moses, who 
have handed them down even unto our day. Let 
thy Holy Spirit descend on me, and lead me, that 
I do not stumble in the way in which I would walk, 
and if ever I did violate or sin against Thy secrets 
may all the evils of fear overtake me that I tremble 
at my own shadow; may my tongue dry up, my 
entraiis wither, my eyesight die out, my breath be- 
come poison that destroyeth my best beloved when 
they may approach me; may grass grow on the 
threshold of my father's house because none enter 
therein, and as I am damned here, may all the tor- 
ments of Gehinom overwhelm me to all eternity. 
Therefore, O Lord, lead me that I rest under the 
shadow of thy wings, and bask in the light of thy 
glory. Amen! Amen!" 

A shudder thrilled through his whole being, his 
lips blanched as he spoke these words, and even 
while he spoke a voice seemed to cry in him, " Woe 
unto thee! thou hast violated them since thou darest 
to enter here. Return!" But there was no return 
possible, the worst was over, and from that day 
forth the Rabbi became more confidential to his 

They sat down to the table and the lesson began; 
the mystic reason why the Holy Scriptures begin 
with the letter Beth was disclosed; each letter and 


each stop, each phrase and each transposition therein 
had its own deep signification. As proof that a 
secret meaning lay hidden in the words of the Bible 
it was alleged that the Holy Scriptures related so 
many unimportant facts, as that (Genesis xix. ii) 
" Rachel and Jacob kissed," the detailed enumera- 
tion (Numbers viii.) of the contributions of the 
twelve princes of the tribes to the building of the 
tabernacle, and many similar passages. All this 
must have a hidden signification. 

They were deeply engrossed in these discussions 
when the echoing chimes of the Zuyderkerk in- 
formed them of the midnight hour. The Rabbi 
rose, took off his shoes, strewed ashes on his head, 
and sat down on the ground beside the door-post, 
where a parchment on which was the Shema lay in 
a niche; he covered his face, and amid tears repeated 
the alphabetical confession of sins, then in a mourn- 
ful voice sang Psalm cxxxvii.: "By the rivers of 
Babylon there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we 
remembered Zion. If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, 
let my right hand forget her cunning — let my 
tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I prefer 
not Jerusalem above my chief joy." 

He repeated the Lamentations of Jeremiah in 
the same position; then arose with the words, 
"Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, 
O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy 
neck, O captive daughter of Zion" (Isaiah lii. 2). 


** I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, 
which shall never hold their peace day nor nighty 
ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence; 
and give him no rest, till he establish and till he 
make Jerusalem a praise in the earth" (Is. Ixii. 6). 

Baruch did everything like the Rabbi, but was 
ignorant of the hidden meaning, of each word, ges- 
ture and tone. Teacher and pupil again seated 
themselves at the table, drew on their shoes, and 
studied until morning, when the hour for the syna- 
gogue service arrived. Thus they spent the watches 
of each Thursday night. 

Baruch went through the Book of " The Secrets 
of God," whose supposed author was Adam, and 
the Book of the Creation, whose author is said to be 
the Patriarch Abraham. Not only his whole mind, 
but his whole body was excited by these studies; 
he incessantly swayed himself about and exercised 
his body, for the Cabbala teaches there is nothing 
in the higher world that has not its counterpart in 
the microcosm; thus the 248 commandments of the 
Jewish religion correspond with the similar number 
of members of the human body, and all these must 
be active in and devoted to the sacred study. 
Baruch knew the names and powers of all the 
angels, and knew the formulas by which they are 
constrained to the service of man; but all this, like 
the solution of chemical and magic problems, had 
but little interest for him. The mystery of mys- 

1 56 SPINOZA. 

teries it was that he yearned for incessantly, and 
here the Cabbala taught that all physical and 
spiritual life was but an imitation of the original 
in heaven, and a chain of existence and action 
leading up to God. This is the heavenly ladder 
which God showed to the Patriarch Jacob in a 
dream, on which the powers of the created world 
as angels, after their spiritual emancipation or 
material concentration, mount and descend; the 
graduated ladder of all existing things rests on 
earth and reaches to heaven; there is the heavenly 
Jerusalem, there the temple, the model of the 
earthly one, there all is spiritual that on earth is 
bound up in matter. From the Hebrew word Ruach 
(soul) it is shown by the numbers which the letters 
give that, the same being found in the various 
Hebrew words for God, the soul must be a part of 
God. The Hebrew word for Messiah contains the 
same number as the Hebrew word for Serpent^ in 
which image Satan seduced Eve; the Messiah will 
therefore bruise the head of the Serpent, and banish 
sin and death from the earth. To the Adam on 
earth corresponds a threefold Adam in heaven; thus 
are derived the three different expressions in the 
accounts of the creation of the first parents (Gene- 
sis i. 27); the original of the earthly Adam is 
the Adam Kadmon in heaven, the image of God, 
and his first born Son. There are four worlds, 
which are spiritual or material according to their 




more or less remote emanation from God. The end 
of creation, however, is the law; only for this reve- 
lation was the world created, for, according to the 
singular division of the words we read in Jen xxxiii. 
25, " Thus saith the Lord, If my covenant be not 
with day and night, and if I have not appointed the 
ordinances of heaven and earth." 

What is the triumph of victory or the power to 
rule nation* compared to this immediate spiritual 

Rabbi Aboab used his own Hebrew translation 
of the Spanish Book of Erira as a guide to the oral 
law, which, according to the words and sense of the 
Cabbala, must ever remain unwritten, and only be 
passed on from mind to mind. 

Here at last Baruch attained a higher hold by 
which he could swing himself onward. He strove 
to separate the inner kernel from the outward shell 
of grotesque and extraordinary observances, but he 
found with pain that these especially were repre- 
sented as essentials: that general ideas do not suffice 
where the question is one of penetrating the actual, 
and solving the enigmas of the fate of men and 
nations, but must fall back on the strange supposi- 
tions of the doctrine of metempsychosis, and the 
powers of evil spirits, in which nature and her laws 
lose themselves in confusion and anarchy. 

The Rabbi was rejoiced at the zeal of his scholar, 
but often reminded him that if any one would pen- 


etrate the real depths of the Cabbalistic practices, 
he must put away from him all sensual desires, 
which were the work of Satan. 

" On the sixth day," he added, "woman, and with 
her all low inclinations, was created; therefore the 
Rabbis teach that men ought to marry at the age 
of three times six; you have reached that age ex- 
actly." There is no doubt that the views and efforts 
of the Rabbi were raised above all things earthly, 
but this need not hinder him from thinking of a 
union between Baruch and Sara. The young Cab- 
balist noticed nothing, even when the Rabbi once 
intentionally left him alone with the fair Sara. 

The Rabbi once taught his pupil that Jesus of 
Nazareth also had been indoctrinated in the Cabbala 
by the sect of Essenes. The Rabbi never antici- 
pated what he led to thereby. 

Baruch had often already been irresistibly fas- 
cinated by a black bound book in the library of his 
master Nigritius, but an inward fear held him back. 
Now the question again arose, why, in the midst of 
the free field of knowledge, a tree of gorgeous and 
sweet-savored fruit should stand which he might 
not dare to approach ? Who has the right, if the 
fruit is not indeed deadly, to say, Thou darest take 
of it, and thou not ? Unseen by any strange eyes 
Baruch decided to open the book. 

He read the New Testament. 

His hands trembled as he held the book. It was 

TttE CAßBATJsT. 159 

the force of habit which made such a commence- 
ment seem apostasy. But yet he did not give it 
up. A quiet power possessed him. He found no 
new explanation of the Cabbala, but other things 
most unanticipated. He now read a new Bible, and 
not like a child following the finger of its teacher; 
but, for the first time, with free eyes and unfettered, 
independent judgment. It reacted on his concep- 
tion of what had hitherto been to him the only 
sacred writings. Must not these also be viewed 
from the standpoint of independent criticism ? Is 
it impossible to review the familiar, accepted with 
a defined signification, in its simple reality ? 

He passed over the miracles without difficulty. 
The parables too, with their resemblances to the 
Talmud, impressed him but little. He had seen 
too often in the Rabbinical department how will- 
ingly inward incompleteness, which is but unripe- 
ness of reflection, and outward incompleteness, 
which is but cowardice, make use of such disguises. 
And is it not said that Christ even revealed the 
truth to his disciples alone? Is it impossible to 
teach men the naked truth? Is "becoming as a 
child," the return to the simple world of nature, the 
only means of salvation in an age confused with 
dogmas and ruined by Pharisees ? Must not to 
" become as a man," a development and growth of 
mind in accordance with the recognized laws of 
nature, be a means of salvation ? Do these alone 


offer a firm foothold, because the ordinances of 
nature are in them immediately represented ? Must 
the natural order too not be founded on knowledge? 

Is not the ''becoming as a child" in will often 
impossible, while manly development of mind is a 
necessary and rational task ? Must not the Talmud 
phrase have its weight, " Everything is a gift of 
God, except the fear of God ?" Is not righteousness, 
which is attained by free thought, firmer and higher 
than love ? What is the pure unrevealed thought 
which (Mark iv. 34) Christ " without a parable 
spake he unto them," and which is not given in the 
Evangelists ? 

It cannot be said how much of the spirit of op- 
position inculcated by his early education lay in 
these questions of- the young thinker. He sought 
to free himself from it, and it came to him as a new 
revelation, that nowhere is it said that God has 
appeared to Christ, and has spoken to him with a 
voice and by signs, and so on, as in the Old Testa- 
ment, but that he had immediately revealed himself 
to the Apostles in Christ. It was no revelation face 
to face as to Moses; not in an outward material 
form but from within. 

Baruch knew the dogmas but ill which in the 
churches were associated with the events of the 
life and the teachings of wisdom here given. As 
the highest that Christ had said of himself it is 
written that, "he was a Temple of God," and John 


said, to impress this more strongly, that, " the Word 
was made flesh," for in Christ God had revealed 
himself most immediately. 

Baruch by natural affinity «felt extraordinarily 
attracted to the life and teachings of the Crucified 
One. Just because he came from a circle of life 
which would know naught thereof, and whose mem- 
bers were persecuted by the followers of Christ; just 
because he was hampered by no Church rules, he 
strove more freely towards pure justice, and learned 
to apply it against the phenomena spread abroad 
during so many centuries, whose outward embodi- 
ment was to remain unknown to him. 

How many apparently antagonistic and mutually 
dissolving elements does youthful development re- 
quire ! And as the spring breezes blow the young 
tree hither and thither, it strikes its roots deeper 
into the nourishing earth, and awakes to fresh pow- 
ers of growth. And, as in outward nature much 
enters the mind that does not immediately reap- 
pear in a recognizable form, it awaits the riper 
growth and development. 

From the library of the Magister, Baruch must 
again bury himself in the study of the Cabbala, and 
he did so with evident zeal. The hidden disguises 
fascinated him ever anew, for he might find therein 
a solution of the enigma which puzzled him, but 
the incomprehensible was here only replaced by 
new incomprehensibility. Often a guiding sign 

102 SPINOZA, ^ 

like a will-o'-the-wisp emerged from the darkness, 
but sank again without leaving trace or connec- 

Baruch longed to*be freed from the yoke which 
he had laid on himself by his dutiful visit to the 
Rabbi. It was done without his interference. 

A Jewish colony was setting out for North Brazil. 
Rabbi Isaak Aboab joined it. 

At sea, it was said, dolphins and sea-monsters 
surrounded the ship in which Rabbi Aboab was. 
All were in fear of death. Rabbi Aboab alone was 
tranquil. ^' Look ! in these are the souls of the god- 
less. Be still," he cried in a mighty voice over the 
floods; "have patience, yet longer ye must tarry, 
for the time is not yet come that will release you." 
He threw a parchment into the water and the 
monsters vanished. 

The fair Sara did not live to see this miracle of 
her father's, which rumor spread so wide. She 
had shed many tears on taking leave of Baruch; 
she loved him secretly and passionately. She died 
on the passage out. When the exiles landed in 
North Brazil the first grave was dug in the newly 
won inheritance, and the fair, girlish corpse of the 
Cabbalist's daughter was buried therein. At her 
interment the Shophar was blown according to 
secret cabbalistic ordinances, a sign of the trumpet 
to be blown at the Resurrection of the dead. In a 
land never yet trodden by Jewish foot the trumpet 



notes of Canaan already sounded which echoed 
from the olden times and from end to end of the 
living world. 

A few days after thö departure of Rabbi Aboab 
Baruch went at the usual hour to the house of 
Magister Nigritius. Frau Gertrui Ufmsand, the 
landlady, met him with the news that the Magister 
had that morning been found dead in his arm-chair, 
his lamp still burning. 

Baruch went in and looked once more at the set 
face of his teacher; the gentleness of a child rested 
on the features of the dead; his favorite book, Cicero 
de Finibus Bonorum ei Malorum, lay open before him. 

Thus the youth was separated forever from the 
guides that should have led him to the treasures 
which men had acquired before him. How many 
thousands inherit the views of former ages without 
effort, in a well-trodden path, happy in the posses- 
sion, while Baruch must ever strive anew and never 
rejoice in the acquisition. 

In his youthful self-reproachfulness the loss of 
his leader seemed to him a just punishment for his 
sins, because of his silent opposition to the much 
lauded results. But could he do otherwise ? Had 
fate called him to be a first man, untrammelled by 
the conclusions of his forefathers, unmisled by their 
guide-posts, out of the depths of his own life, out 
of his own conception of human nature and its laws 
to create salvation? Must each one to whom a 


revelation of the Eternal is to be given withdraw 
from the confusion of human society to the lifeless 
desert, to solitudes where he is alone on earth, 
where only the pulsations of his heart will be the 
measure of his time ? 



ANEW reflection that now occurred to Baruch 
did not, however, alter his ordinary way of 
life. We bid adieu to many things, and the separa- 
tion is hard, for in their absence the knowledge of. 
how dear and true they were receives renewed force. 

On the last day of Atonement Baruch had prayed 
with a contrite spirit, " Lord God ! let me die rather 
than be a sinner, or one of the godless !" He yet 
lived, but had lost his truest friend, who had stood 
by him in need. 

Three times a day in the synagogue and else- 
where, when he drank a glass of water or ate an 
apple or piece of bread, when he began or ended 
his studies, on every occasion of enjoyment, on 
every event of life, he had repeated the appointed 
prayers; and at night, as he lay alone in bed, he 
repeated the alphabetical list of sins, and at each 
word struck himself remorsefully on the breast; 
then slept peacefully and pleasantly till morning. 

Now, however, in the stillness of the night, doubt 
approached him with soft footfalls, and whispered 
in his ear, *'Why do you strike your breast for 
things that trouble you not ? Have you ever 

1 66 SPINOZA. 

robbed, stolen, wilfully sinned, given false counsel 
to any one, as it is here laid down in this cauldron 
of Hell ?" He replied, '' This prayer is not for 
me alone; I pray for the whole of Israel, for all 
mankind, indeed, that their sins may be forgiven 

" What other will be benefited by thy word who 
has transgressed by deed ?" was the reply. He 
broke off in the midst of the prayer and slept 

"If thou prayest, doubt not," said wise Jesus 
Sirach; but how can a man command his doubts? 
And when Baruch stood in the synagogue, and the 
morning prayer lay before him, the tempter came to 
him and said, "Art thou here again at the sound of 
the bell ? How canst thou take in thy mouth the 
words of David and other men spoken in their 
great need ? Should thine own religious feelings be 
first awakened by the mighty words of strangers ?" 
He resolved henceforth to pray only in forms chosen 
by himself, and at the times in which he felt so in- 
clined. This did not happen for a long time, and 
when it did he felt that, from long disuse, he had 
fallen far from his Creator; he did not find him as 
readily as formerly. Of what use are words ? he 
then said to himself; thought must suffice. If God 
is omniscient ... if he is. Alas ! he no longer 
knew how to pray. 

He felt this yet more distressingly as he sat be- 


side the sick bed of his moaning father; deep sighs 
rose from his laden breast; tears burnt in his eyes; 
he could no longer weep. 

" Compose yourself, my son," said his father; 
"trust in the Almighty; he will help thee." He 
knew not what a two-edged dagger these words 
seemed to the heart of his son. No longer capable 
of thought, he sat cold and mute. The surgeon 
politician, Flyns, in the next chamber whistled the 
air of " Wilhelm von Nassawe" and spread plasters; 
the father held his son's hand and groaned perpetu- 
ally. The Orange partisan outside suddenly was 
silent; Miriam opened the door, and Salomon de 
Silva, accompanied by a stranger, entered the room; 
the surgeon followed them with plasters and a case 
of instruments. 

*' I cannot undertake it alone," began Silva, " so 
I have asked my respected colleague. Dr. Van den 
Ende, to perform the operation with me. Are you 
now strong enough, and are you ready ?" 

"I am," said the sick man; "my life is in God's 
hand." A slight smile hovered round the corners 
of the newly arrived physician's mouth. Baruch 
had been watching him attentively, and thought he 
read in this smile the certain intelligence of his 
father's death. He was mistaken. Van den Ende 
asked in Latin whether they might converse in that 
language in presence of the son. Silva answered 
in the affirmative, as Baruch knew but little Latin. 

1 68 . SPINOZA, 

The two physicians then conversed for a consider- 
able time. Van den Ende had a strange mocking 
expression, and spoke eagerly. Long Flyns listened 
to the medical consultation with wide open eyes, 
and nodded to first one and then the other, as if 
he understood it all, while in fact he did not under- 
stand a word; and to Baruch's ears it was only a 
word here and there that was borne as if by the 
wind; nevertheless he gazed anxiously at the stran- 
ger physician. In the ways and appearance of this 
little man there lay such a rare serenity and peace 
of mind that Baruch, in the mood he was then in, 
was fascinated by him. His hands, which were cov- 
ered nearly to the fingers with his crimped cuffs, 
were crossed on the gold head of his Spanish cane; 
he leaned comfortably over the cushioned back of 
his chair; his plump round figure seemed almost 
too extensive to be supported by feet so small and 
neat, ornamented as they were with buckles and 
ribbons; but attention was soon attracted again 
from them to his head; from out the curled folds 
of his peruke, which flowed to his shoulders, his 
round face looked good-naturedly at the world, 
and no one would have thought he had seen more 
than fifty winters, but for some wrinkles that 
nestled round his eyes when he smiled, and, like the 
dark red on his nose and its neighborhood, were 
evidences of a more advanced age. The deep-set 
grey eyes moved incessantly, but the outward qui- 


etude of the little man was a contrast to the violent 
gesticulations of Silva, who sometimes seized his 
colleague unconsciously by the cloak, sometimes 
tapped him on the arm, sometimes on the shoulder, 
to exact proper attention to his words. As Baruch 
watched the stranger he could have envied him 
the rapid stream of Latin converse that flowed 
from his lips if he had dared to think of his studies 
beside his father's sick bed. 

The operation was successful beyond all expecta- 
tion. Van den Ende visited the convalescent nearly 
every day, and conversed principally with Baruch; 
the restlessness and active mind of the youth did 
not long remain hidden from his penetrating sight. 
The grateful father willingly granted his request 
that he might instruct Baruch in classical learning. 

Baruch accompanied the physician to his dwell- 
ing at the end of Warmoes Street, not far from St. 
Olave's Church, and the chapel built on the model 
of the Temple of Jerusalem. Baruch had once 
passed there with Chisdai. Chisdai spat at it three 
times; Baruch merely remarked that the builder 
had departed very much from the original, but that 
it could not be otherwise, for even those learned in 
the Talmud could not have a perfect idea of the 
outward and inward appearance of the Temple of 
Jerusalem, since the real original was in Heaven 
itself. Now, however, he troubled himself but little 
about the architecture of the Temple in heaven, or 



on earth, as he entered the house of the physician. 
Here he found himself in a wholly novel atmos- 
phere. Joyous singing in a young girl's voice, ac- 
companied by an organ, reached his ears even on 
the ground floor. The physician led his pupil into 
a large room, and left him alone for a while. Bright 
colored pictures looked down on him from all 
sides, wantonly attracting remark: here a Leda 
rising from her bath, an oil painting in fresh, allur- 
ing tints; there a Venus, as she arose in all her 
glorious perfection from the foam; near her a 
Semele on whom a cloud was sinking; on the op- 
posite wall hung Flemish still-life, fruit and flowers, 
landscapes inimitable in truth of coloring. Little 
statuettes of white and tinted marble stood on the 
inlaid stands. Canaries in gilt cages repeated their 
well-studied songs, and between whiles interposed 
their powerful native wood-notes. Roses, tulips, 
carnations, lilies, and anemones bloomed round the 
windows in ornamental pots, and drew attention 
there. The physician returned, aud explained the 
beauties of the pictures to Baruch; some he took 
down, and dusted them with a sponge for a better 
view. Especially long he lingered over a picture 
of natural solitude by his contemporary, Jacob 
Ruysdael, and a rich landscape by his rival Nico- 
laus Berghem, then still alive. He then led Ba- 
ruch into another room, that created even greater 
astonishment. The walls were hung with anatom- 



ical drawings, one above another; glass cases, in 
which butterflies and beetles were well arranged, 
hung between; stuffed birds sat on little twigs fixed 
into the book-cases. At one end of the room stood 
phials and retorts; in one corner lay a large heap 
of grey papers, from which emerged the stems and 
leaves of dried plants; there also stood a large 
skeleton in whose bony fingers was placed a gilt 
paper sceptre. Above the green-covered writing- 
table stood a marble bust, the acute Greek face 
crowned with a laurel wreath. 

Baruch took note of his surroundings, in which, 
in spite of the superabundance, a certain order was 
visible. Life could be filled with other things than 
biblical rules, commentaries, and religious ceremo- 
nies; here was quite another world, thus he assured 
himself, and the physician did not disturb his 
thoughts, for he was seeking through his shelves 
for a book. At last he chose Cicero de Officits, and 
required Baruch to construe it. The tutor shook 
his head often reflectively; not that Baruch knew 
no Latin; that could not be accurately said of him; 
it was that with his characteristic quickness of 
mind he burst the grammatical forms with a won- 
derful comprehension of the author whom he read. 
If but a few words were clear that gave an idea of 
the progress of the narrative, or indicated the aim 
of the train of thought, he would rapidly, and often 
correctly, connect the sense of the whole. More fre- 


quently, however, in following the train of the au- 
thor's ideas, he would spring over theift to his own 
much more widely extended combinations. Van 
den Ende saw that in this case a wholly different 
mode of instruction must be carried out; here was 
a well-grown tree that had seen the flowers and 
fruit of many seasons fall, and which must now be 
transplanted to another soil. 

The progress that succeeded was not, however, 
as great as might have been expected, the lessons 
being nearly always interrupted by discussions on 
wholly different subjects. Baruch had gained con- 
fidence in his teacher, and told him once in a confi- 
dential tone how he had lost the power to pray. 
The physician laughed so heartily that he was 
obliged to hold his sides; but he perceived how 
seriously this annoyed his pupil. 

'' Excuse me !" he said. " I am not laughing at 
you; ha! ha ! ha ! We had, in the lunatic asylum 
at Milan, an excellent example of a theological- 
philosophical Narcissus. He covered his face with 
a cloth, and remained the whole day on his knees, 
praying, * Holy St. Christopher stand by me, and 
forgive me my sins.' Ha \ ha ! ha ! and if he were 
asked, ' Who and where is the holy St. Christopher ? * 
he stood up, and lifted the cloth from his face, 
crying in a majestic tone, ' Do you not see the glory 
round my brow ? Kneel down and pray. I am 
the holy Christopher.' Ha ! ha ! ha ! If one only 



thinks about it awhile, there lay much method in 
his madness. What is the use of prayer ? To in- 
fluence God ? Half a fool could see that it would 
be a contradiction if God allowed himself to be dis- 
turbed by us. The proverb says *" ora et laboraf it all 
comes to this, then, that it raises and tranquillizes 
our so-called souls, which are oppressed and per- 
plexed by our sorrows and pains; if I could do it 
by an anecdote, or a chapter on logic and physic, it 
would be just as good; so don't trouble yourself 
because you have become independent; don't hang 
your head, but be merry and good-humored. I am 
so, and for more than twenty years have never 
thought of prayer. If one could only bring up the 
young without wasting the fairest time of life in 
useless fiddle-faddle !" So said the physician, and 
his little grey eyes twinkled. Baruch could- not 
oppose his exposition, but from that time he was 
more reserved with him; he diligently studied the 
works on mathematics and natural science that he 
received from him, questioned him on any diffi- 
culty therein, but carefully avoided any reference 
to his own condition of mind. The physician, how- 
ever, knew how to awaken confidence by his insin- 
uating frankness. 

" I was once as hampered by doubts as you," he 
once said t© Baruch. " And I know what the effect 
of such bondage is; even now when I think I have 
freed myself I catch myself in that exclusiveness 



that proceeds from the fancied possession of the 
one true creed. I am not come like you from the 
Bible itself to the way of freedom. It was a 
peculiar and in itself weaker impulse that led me 
into it. I was sent as a pious Catholic to the 
University of Leyden. One Ascension Eve I had 
studied so long that my lamp burned out; as I lay 
quietly in bed the thought passed like lightning 
through my mind, 'Where is that illuminating 
power now ? The fire has annihilated its fuel and 
flowed into the Universe. What if it should be so 
with our souls also ? ' My teacher had impressed 
on me the once wide-spread theory that life was a 
process of burning. It can be called so without ex- 
plaining much thereby; what we call soul, thought, 
and sensation is nothing but a combination of 
matter that has its nourishment from matter, pal- 
pable or impalpable, and will again become such. 
One man digests with difficulty, another with ease, 
one with comfort, another with discomfort." 

" In what then lies our superiority to the 
brutes ?" 

" Who told you that such must exist ? But we 
are indeed superior, only in so far, however, that 
we are more richly gifted and composed of finer 
material, therefore the so-called immaterial essences 
of color, sound, and language act more ^^owerfully 
on us. The brain of a man outweighs a fiftieth of 
his whole body, therefore he has more of what is 


called reason and intellect. In an ox, for example, 
the brain amounts to hardly an eight-hundredth 
part of its weight, therefore it is stupid; the ele- 
phant is ponderous but sagacious, because he has a 
proportionately large brain. Injure your brain and 
you become an idiot; why then do you talk of your 
future life and your eternal existence?" 

" Our destiny then should be to make our life- 
work, or our existence, as you call it, as agreeable 
as possible." 


"I did not think you were so selfish," replied 

" I am not selfish," retorted the ph5^sician, " I 
would joyfully give fortune and life for the good of 
the community, for the State, but not for religion 
and faith; I would not pull a hair from my wig for 
them. The surest and highest good of mankind 
lies in the well-being of the State, and to care for 
that is the destined work of man; in all else we but 
mount from one cloud to another." 

"Your endeavors for the good of your fatherland 
and mankind were in the end then nothing more 
than to make it possible for this or that individual, 
or, if you prefer it, the community at large, to eat, 
drink, and take their pleasure with more ease and 
comfort; in your extension of this you obtain 
nothing higher, only something wider." 

*' I will talk with you openly," added the phy- 


sician, coming nearer to his scholar with a rare 
earnestness in his manner " Each one must go 
through the crisis in which you are now. I too 
was enthusiastic at your age about the higher or 
spiritual needs of mankind, and thought they ought 
never to be dissevered from their strivings towards 
the good of the community. I was in that sense a 
zealous Catholic, but only in that sense. It was the 
time when 

" Gomar and Arminius with .rage and grief 
Strove which ought to be the best belief." 

I saw the Advocate mount the scaffold, because he 
defended himself from the old Jewish creed by 
which, through election, they would make Chris- 
tians into a body-guard of God; there, leaning on 
his staff, the septuagenarian Oldenbarnaveldt stood 
on the scaffold. 

" ' O God ! ' he cried; ' what will become of man- 
kind ? ' And all around stood the brainless crowd, 
heads beyond heads, and gloated over it, and 
shouted as that noblest head of all was severed 
from the body. There and then I learned to despise 
the multitude; there I gained the knowledge that 
before all things it is necessary to reject all in- 
fluence from what the crowd calls religion. Super- 
stition is a hollow tooth; it leaves you long in 
peace, but a harder morsel, or a colder whiff of air, 
and you are maddened by it. Try to draw it out, 



the patient strikes you in the face, you leave a 
splinter in and cannot extract it except with the 
danger of tearing the gum, or destroying a nerve. 
Whoever would really help says he would but 
look at it, then fixes the pincers in the jaws, then 
back! out with it; but it is better not to help 
him who has not the courage to let himself be 

" You make the endeavor after possession and 
increase of the ideal attainments of mankind an in- 
tellectual luxury." 

"Yes, it has no practical .aim; I don't grudge it 
to you Jews, if you like to erect a heavenly king- 
dom, since you have no earthly one. Why do you 
laugh ? Am I not right ?" 

" The Talmud says that the best of the physicians 
go to hell; the professors of healing then had evi- 
dently the same ideas as you have now." 

"What does your Talmud matter to me? Your 
Moses was a great statesman, but wise Solomon is 
the man for me; he understood life, that is why he 
says in Ecclesiastes, 'Then I commended mirth, 
because a man hath no better thing under the sun 
than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry.' " 

"Then the brutes best fulfil their destiny, and 
the mollusks who consist of a stomach are the most 
perfect of creations." 

" No; I grant you a brute can be merry, but man 
is superior in this, not that he walks upright, can 

1 78 SPINOZA. 

read and write, and thereby know what happened 
before him and therefore may happen to him; no, 
but men alone can laugh. Democritus and Lucian 
were the two most sagacious men in Greece, the 
others have mostly thrashed empty straw. I am 
an old practitioner, believe me, no pleasure in the 
world is so permanent as laughter, and in the en- 
joyment of it men remain normally fresh and 

" It is odd that you are again in agreement with 
the Talmud, for it says there, ' that laughter is the 
prerogative of mankind.' " 

"Truly? Then there is some wisdom in that 
heavy book, but I go still further, and say, it is a 
prerogative of men above gods, for he whom 
nothing surprises cannot laugh." 

" Let us remain among men," interrupted Ba- 
ruch. " What in your view of things becomes of 
the poor who moisten their crusts with tears, the 
old, the sick, and the sorrowful, who find nothing 
to enjoy, and nothing to laugh at ? Where are 
comfort and joy for them ?" 

"Such should believe and be merry in their godly 

" But if they come to a fuller knowledge, and all 
is overturned ?" 

"There is no fear of that, it will never happen; 
in all times there are but few clear-sighted ones; 
the rabble will always believe: it must be so, be- 



cause they are wanting in cultivation and judg- 
ment; otherwise they would never be kept within 

"These are they who count themselves free; 
even infidelity has its elect !" Such were Baruch's 
thoughts as he went away. 

On yet another occasion the books lay open be- 
fore them, and teacher and learner spoke of other 
things than what was written therein. 

"Believe me," said the physician, and he blinked 
with his grey eyes, like one who has penetrated the 
deepest secrets; "believe me, I often looked behind 
the curtains; I know the matrimonial history of 
what men call matter and spirit, and have coupled 
with a religious blessing." 

"Yet every one desires to be believed," answered 
the pupil. " But if I had wished it I should have 
remained among the Rabbis; perhaps I might have 
succeeded in building yet another story to that 
Tower of Babel, the Talmud, which at last may 
reach to Heaven; but I wish for knowledge, cer- 

" That you will only find in matter; of all other 
things I can prove to you as readily that they exist 
as that they do not exist." 

" In the combination of my own unbroken suc- 
cession of impressions, feelings, and thoughts I 
know myself to be a spiritual unit, independent of, 
and unconnected with, the body. Suicide, how- 


ever much it is to be deprecated, does it not prove 
an authority of the human mind over the body, 
which extends even to the annihilation thereof ?" 

" The arrogance of humanity !" answered the 
physician; "that is the original sin that adheres to 
us all. What you speak of may just as well be the 
result of physical causes, what men call instinct in 
animals without reason. For example, a marten 
or a rat which is caught by one foot in a trap will 
bite off that foot with its own teeth and run away. 
A yet more striking example: in my travels in 
lower Italy I often saw the peasants enjoy a cruel 
pleasure in throwing a" scorpion into the centre of a 
pretty large circle of glowing cinders. The poor 
animal tried to fly, and shot from one side to the 
other, but was everywhere stopped by the glowing 
ring; it raised its head as if entreating the mercy 
of the bystanders, but all laughed and cheered, and 
no one offered it means of exit; then it shot into 
the circle in a rage, hunted by anxiety and despair, 
and tried to force the glowing cinders with its 
claws, but quickly retreated and writhed through 
its whole body. When it no longer saw means of 
escape, it crouched in the middle of the circle far 
away from the flames. Without motion it lay as if 
dead, but suddenly putting out the sting of its tail, 
it reared itself with all its might, stabbed itself 
through, and was dead. Tell me, did the scorpion 
feel its independent spiritual individuality?" 


Baruch would have conceded this, and allowed 
spiritual powers to the whole of nature's created 
beings; but he felt that he could not lay his own 
reflections in the scale against so rich a treasure 
of experience, where continual novelties were dis- 
played before his eyes which he could not judge of 
in a moment. An inner voice opposed the views 
thus offered to him, but he did not know on what 
to ground his opposition. He was silent. His 
teacher did not doubt that he had won a proselyte, 
and invited Baruch to come the following evening, 
when he would reveal the secrets of a doctrine that 
would extort his astonishment and wonder. 

Baruch appeared at the appointed hour. Van 
den Ende led him into his study and bolted the 
door behind them, closed the window-shutters, and 
listened to hear that no one was near the room. 
Baruch almost laughed at the comically serious 
manner of the physician as he placed a lighted 
candle in the fingers of the skeleton. 

" Do you know the legend of the prior of St. 
Dominic at Tiel?" inquired the physician, as he 
sought for something in a chest. 

" No !" answered Baruch. 

" Listen," continued his companion. " The pious 
prior was once visited by the devil while he was 
engaged in reading a holy book. The devil wanted 
to distract the pious man's attention from his oc- 
cupation; he jumped on the table and played all 

1 82 SPINOZA. 

manner of antics before him; but the prior obliged 
him to hold the candle for him until it was burned 
down, when he graciously let him go. Look at the 
Domine there, he shall light us while we read the 
devil's testament. Ah ! there is the key. Look at 
that bony frame a little again; the whole scaffold- 
ing was once filled up with fat; that was a belly 
that licked up many a scrap from the table of 
Prince Maurice of Orange, those cheek and fore- 
head bones had a carbuncle red covering; in those 
holes sat obsequious eyes, which often practised 
the human prerogative of looking heavenward; be- 
fore those teeth was a pair of lips that railed much 
at the Remonstrance, and exercised abstinence in 
the sipping of costly Rhine wine. That was once 
the fat Domine who abused the noble Oldenbarna- 
veldt most, and led him on to the scaffold. He was 
predestined to be stolen by me for a body to cut 
up. I was in danger of death for the deed. It is 
a pretty history; I will tell it you another time. 
Holy Laurentius ! here is another disciple who 
makes a pilgrimage to you to get wisdom from 
your white head. Rejoice, for the crowd shall soon 
be as the sands of the sea, or the stars in the firma- 
ment." At these words the physician crossed his 
arms on his breast, and bowed three times to the 

" Ha, ha, ha !" he interrupted himself, '' it is too 
good. I am getting quite biblical, but I will not 



make any more nonsense for you." He then 
mounted on a stool, opened the upper part of the 
skull with a key, took a manuscript out, and said 
as he descended: 

" As long as he was living he harbored nothing 
so clever there as I have given him in charge. 
Swear that you will not tell any one that you have 
seen this book in my care; my citizenship would 
be endangered." 

" How shall I swear it ?" asked Baruch, while 
he resolved to learn nothing rather than take such 
another oath as the Cabbalist had imposed. 

The physician misunderstood him. 

"You are right," he said; "if you would swear 
you could not understand this. Look at this 
round, well-formed, legible writing; so fairly men 
write in the devil's offices. The book is inherited 
from a Dominican friar, who brought it irom Augs- 
burg; a German emperor, Frederick the Second 
of Hohenstaufen, was the author. The title you 
will easily understand, it is called De Tribus Im" 
postoribus ; there are only nine and twenty para- 
graphs of it. Sit there and I will read it to you in 

Baruch shuddered at the utter infidelity and 
cold-blooded dissection of all faith here presented 
to his mind's eye; and when he heard the twenty- 
first paragraph, where it says, " Quid enim Deus sit, 
in revelatione quaJii-uiique obscurius ionge est quam 


antea^ it seemed as if his whole religious belief were 
being torn out with red hot tongs. 

" Young friend, when you know a little more of 
life," said the physician as he rose, " you will see 
that the morality which is bartered in the market 
of life was not created out of ink-pots. Your Ju- 
daism and our Judaism are worth nothing now; 
your Judaism was a mummy long ago, and a puff 
of air will scatter it in dust; ours, to the beginning 
of the last century, was pure barbarism; it has 
imbibed a classic spirit and this spirit will explode 
it. Enter the bright halls of classic wisdom; you 
will there learn to enjoy, to jest, and to be silent." 

"A horrible labyrinth !" said Baruch in his heart 
as he went away; "but I feel that a clue will be 




*' A maid in the morn should early rise, 
And seek where her beloved one lies; 
Beneath the lime trees she sought him, 
Nor found her love where she thought him." 

SO sang Olympia van den Ende, and drew out 
the long resounding notes of her small organ 
in powerful chords as her father entered the room. 

"You have quite risen to your paradise of song 
to-day again," said he, " and are no longer aware 
of what happens below in our unmusical world. 
We passed your room an hour ago. I have brought 
the much spoken of M. de Spinoza here with me at 
last. Allow me to introduce my daughter; she is 
accredited minister in my sacred doctrinal office; 
you must be on good terms with her." 

" My father has spoken to me of you whenever 
he returned from your house," said Olympia, " and 
I am rejoiced to see my wish fulfilled at last. But 
though I have heard so much about you, I see now 
that I had quite a false conception of your personal 
appearance. Tell me, since you are a philosopher, 
may I not take that as a proof that all our impres- 
sions of persons and things lying out of our imme- 

1 86 SPINOZA. 

diäte sphere of observation are incorrect ?" What 
a first encounter was this, which straightway threw 
down a problem to be solved, and dubbed him for 
the first time philosopher ! 

Baruch lowered his eyes to avoid her scrutiny of 
his features; he bowed mutely, and knew not what 
to reply. 

" You will find my daughter a half-fledged philos- 
opher, with whom you can dispute as much as you 
like," said the physician to help Baruch out of the 
difficulty which he, however, was hardly conscious 

" Oldenburg has sent me such an exquisite song 
to-day," said Olympia to her father as she passed 
him the sheets of music and turned again to 
Baruch. "Are you musical, Herr von Spinoza?" 


"But you can sing psalms ? You must sing me 
a Hebrew psalm some day, I want to hear how it 
sounds. Have they still the melodies of King 
David ?" 

" We have much older ones; for nearly all our 
synagogue chants traditionally come from Mount 
Sinai, though the words were composed much later; 
the melodies were meanwhile passed on from miouth 
to mouth." 

" That is interesting; it is just as if clothes 
walked without bodies, or an arsenal fought a bat- 
tle without soldiers." 

BENEDICT us SIT. \%>j 

**I spoke only of the accepted tradition," an- 
swered Baruch. 

" Oh, but it is a beautiful legend. It must have 
been glorious," continued Olympia: " The rolling 
thunder, and the sounding of the innumerable 
trumpets was so magnificent an accompaniment, 
truly fm'wso, but it must have been so; sing me 
something from the Sinai Oratorio, if my Christian 
ears may hear it." 

Baruch excused himself on the plea that he did 
not sing; but Olympia was so imperative that 
Baruch did not know how to avoid the awkward 

" A musical fanatic !" said Van den Ende. 
" Wait awhile till Herr von Spinoza offers you the 
scale of his creed himself; you put people who do 
not know you in very awkward positions with your 
queer whims." • 

Olympia excused herself to Baruch for her 
vehemence, she was so excited, he must not judge 
unfavorably of her. After a short stay Baruch 
went away in unwonted perplexity: he thought 
Olympia had made fun of him, and not of him 
alone, so much as of all Judaism. The perception 
of this disturbed this deserter from his early asso- 
ciations much more now, when he felt himself cut 
off in thought and action from his associates. 

Such was his first meeting with Olympia on the 
day on which Van den Ende brought him first into 

1 88 SPINOZA. 

his house. He often encountered her afterwards, 
and exchanged a few words with her ; but other- 
wise troubled himself but little about her. He 
might have said with Job xxxi. i, " I made a 
covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think 
upon a maid ?" But now the time was come when 
he must think upon a maid, and hang with fasci- 
nated attention on her every word. The physician 
had gone on a journey, and had resigned his lessons 
to his daughter; Baruch too was her pupil. 

Like her namesake Olympia Morata of Ferrara, 
whose Greek and Latin verse, in the last century, 
had been the wonder of her contemporaries, Olympia 
van den Ende was quite at home in the world of 
classics, but inclined more to scientific investigation, 
so that she might easily have aspired to be crowned 
with the hood of a doctor of philosophy; but she 
knew too well that the black velvet cap with its 
edging of Brussels point lace suited her blonde 
locks and white skin much better than the pointed 
red velvet hood of a doctor. Cicero's own daughter 
Julia did not answer the letters of her eloquent 
father in more elegant Latin than the daughter of 
the Amsterdam physician. Her white hands often 
bore traces of learned ink, for she exercised a 
rigorous censorship over her pupil's modes of ex- 
pression, if they would not have been accepted in 
a Roman citizen; her smooth white brow gathered 
into folds when a barbarism came under her notice; 


her clear blue eyes sparkled, and her mouth, which 
usually had a certain austerity in its lines, smiled 
pleasantly and gently when she saw that her pupils 
had made no false quantities in their Latin verses. 

Baruch sat before his instructress with some dis- 
satisfaction in their first lessons, as she demon- 
strated the finer points of syntax in the periods of 
the " History of Alexander" by Curtius. Olympia 
was irritated at the awkward Jew, who answered 
all her questions as bashfully as possible; she stood 
up and paced the room thoughtfully. Baruch 
watched the tall, slender figure with its ma- 
jestic movements, and instead of following the 
manoeuvres of Alexander, he studied the features 
of Olympia, the syntax of whose enthusiastic tem- 
per and acuteness of intellect he could as little 
decipher as the involved periods of Curtius. 

The instruction at first was as unsatisfactory in 
this case as in that of the old Magister Nigritius; 
for Baruch, since their first meeting, had always 
approached Olympia with dislike. She soon, how- 
ever, understood where to find points of agree- 
ment between their differently constituted minds, 
which made their meetings more agreeable to 
Baruch. He was happy soon to find their conver- 
sation of anything rather than Latin. He con- 
versed with Olympia on the ruling laws of history, 
on the fate of men and nations; she found Baruch's 
ideas peculiar enough, often strange, for he was 



accustomed to look at everything from the stand- 
point of Jewish history, and to judge by comparison 
or affinity with that. This gave it a more interest- 
ing turn for Olympia,. for all that Baruch said was 
so uncommon, and showed such unusual intellectual 
activity, that Olympia felt absolved from the sin of 
unconscientiousness in neglecting instruction so 
little needed. The minds of both penetrated to 
the remotest zones and periods, and there found 
each other again, for both felt the same impulse to 
discover the origin of the world and its designs. 
Baruch now looked forward eagerly to the lesson 
hour, and set out on his way thither long before the 
hour chimed. It often happened that Olympia, 
looking out of the window, would see him far off, 
and nod to him kindly. 

One day they had been reading in the eighth 
chapter of the seventh book the well-known con- 
versation of the Scythian envoys with Alexander. 
Olympia remarked, "It is characteristic that 
Valerius Maximus relates how Aristarchus had 
said to the king, * According to Democritus there 
are innumerable worlds.' ' Alas ! * said the king, 
*I unfortunately have not yet conquered one.' " 

" In the Talmud there are many extraordinary 
legends about the ' Macedonian Alexander,* for 
whom the world was too narrow," replied Baruch. 

" Oh, tell me them, do tell them," said Olympia. 


" I do so like such flowers as these which have 
sprung from the glowing East." 

There was a knock heard, Olympia cried " Enter !" 
and a stately man with handsome, refined features 
entered the room. With quiet familiarity he ap- 
proached Olympia, took her hand, and pressed it 
to his lips. 

'' I am rejoiced,' he said, " to be permitted to kiss 
this hand that holds the plectrum and the style of 
history with equal skill, and has already pointed 
out to so many the way to Attica's and Latium's 
glorious fields." 

" It would have been a pity if you had not been 
destined for a diplomatic career," replied Olympia. 

" Otherwise I should not have had the pleasure 
of telling you the news which has been brought to- 
day that your favorite, the pious General Oliver 
Cromwell, is named Lord Protector by the army. 
Not for nothing has he expelled the Parliament 
with the oratorical epithet of * you drunkards ! ' " 

" You always laugh at his oratory; he is no 
Demosthenes," said Olympia, " but a strong char- 
acter with deep insight. I am very glad he has 
risen so high. But how do things go with us ? 
Can you tell me whether there are definite tidings 
how many men were lost in the last storm ?" 

"No; but some comedy was even there mingled 
with the tragedy. I have often told you that my 


native Lower Saxony had considerable similarity in 
customs and ideas with your native land; in one 
thing, however, they are very different, and that is 
in their treatment of the Jews. In my pious town 
they never would have suffered one of the children 
of Abraham to equip a ship and send it to sea in 
the name of 'the Jew;' is not the Northern Ocean 
Christian water ? So the sfea has overwhelmed the 
Jews first. I heard from my window this morning 
an old sailor telling his comrades that it all came 
of associating with Jews." 

Baruch had risen when the stranger entered, 
he had put his book under his arm, and would 
have taken leave of Olympia ; twice he would 
have bowed, but as the stranger stood between 
she did not see him ; he advanced again, but 
again the stranger interposed between him and 

" I must explain," continued the stranger, '' why 
I have come at so unusual an hour. You are going 
to the Rederykers Kamer * this evening, of course. 
I wanted to remind you to go to the Botanical 
Garden first; you will see what you have probably 
never seen before, a palm-tree in bloom; the flowers 
are so large that ten families of elves could easily 
live therein." 

Here was another pause, and Baruch at last 

* A sort of theatre. 



succeeded in bowing to Olympia and stammering 
out a few words. 

"You must not go yet, Herr von Spinoza," she 
said; " you must first tell me the legend, and when 
I go to see the lilies of the south I can tell them 
something from their native land." 

"The sailor's legends may be the truer, I there- 
fore prefer to go," said Baruch with a glance at the 

"Ah!" said he rising, "my old friend Casper Bar- 
laus was right, he had had much intercourse with 
Jews, and was at first prejudiced in their favor, 
thinking them all witty; but he often complained of 
one of their failings, their sensitiveness; the most 
innocent look, the most harmless jest, was mistaken 
for mockery. I can assure you, that it was not my 
object to offend you in the least, and Jufrow Olym- 
pia can bear witness to my most unchristian par- 
tiality for the Jews." 

" Yes," she said, " and it was all my fault for not 
introducing you; Herr von Spinoza you know now; 
and this is Herr Oldenburg, a member off the 
Bremen Embassy. Now pray tell me the legend, 
or else I shall think myself the cause of a misunder- 
standing that I should greatly regret." Baruch 
tried to protest. 

" I will give him a lesson," said Oldenburg. 
** Remember always that Jufrow Olympia prays 
daily * May my will be done in Heaven as on 



earth,' so begin to narrate; you must do it in the 

Baruch then related the well-known legend of 
how Alexander advanced to the gates of Eden with 
his army. Oldenburg then told, out of the old 
poems of the priest Lamprecht and Ulrich von 
Eschenbach, the glorious legends in which the 
poetical German spirit had celebrated the great 
deeds of Alexander. And in interchange of opin- 
ions on the great hero of old times, whose life, 
though he had found no Homer, the poetical legends 
of all nations, both Eastern and Western, had col- 
ored in brightest hues, the three passed a pleasant 
hour. The stranger and Olympia stared in aston- 
ishment at Baruch when he declared with quiet 
decision that fear was the original and sustaining 
cause of superstition. He quoted Alexander as a 
striking proof of this, for whenever circumstances 
were unfavorable, or misfortunes occurred, he 
called in sacrifices and superstitious observances to 
his aid. While Baruch sought the corroborating 
passages in Curtius, from Book iv. Chap. lo, and 
Book V. Chap. 4, etc., his two listeners recognized 
an extraordinary mind that would shed new mean- 
ings on the past. 

From that time Oldenburg came oftener, when 
he knew that Baruch was with Olympia, and she 
was glad to see the two young men become dally 
more friendly. She took a certain pride in being 



the link between two such dissimilar characters, 
and she understood how to bring to light continual 
affinities between the travelled experience and ex- 
tensive reading of Oldenburg, and the deep pene- 
trative spirit of Baruch. Besides the accomplish- 
ments of a finished man of the world Oldenburg 
possessed another quality, seldom noticed, but 
which, though unnoticed, is an important element 
in a first impression — this " is a full-toned, well- 
modulated voice. All that Oldenburg said received 
through this harmonious quality a fulness and 
roundness which immediately and involuntarily 
attracted favor. Baruch and Oldenburg were 
friends without a word passing between them on 
the subject. 

" You will soon have finished your Latin course," 
said Olympia to Baruch one day; " how would it be 
if you gave me a course of Hebrew lessons?" 

" I recommend to you then the Polyglot of the 
Father in the Church, Origen," said Oldenburg 
laughing, "then you may jump from one language 
to another, as it may please your restless mind. 
Apply to me, and I will get you appointed to the 
chair of Casaubon or Scaliger. I can see how the 
Studiosi would troop to the college, if the learned 
Olympia van den Ende were to explain the Song 
of Solomon in the language of the original." 

" Remember," interrupted Baruch, " it is the 
sacred language that you wish to learn." 


" Are you a saint then ?" retorted she. " You 
must have a Hebrew name; what are you called ?" 

" Baruch." 

"Bahruch!" excJaimed Olympia, shaking with 
laughter. "Bahruch! ugh! it makes me quite ill 
and frightened, it is so like a conjuration. The 
name would sound lugubrious in music; I should 
accompany it with F minor; listen!" She went to 
the organ, and sang " Bahruhcn !*' over and over 
again, accompanying it with the dreary note. " For 
Heaven's sake, give up the name, or something bad 
will happen to you," she continued. "I had a dear 
friend whose beloved was named Balthasar Prom- 
pronius, who was very unfortunate. 'Dear Bal- 
thasar ! ' no, that will not do, that cannot be said 
expressively, it will not come out of your mouth, 
and cracks your ear; my friend was very unhappy, 
for she was always obliged to say * dear,' alone, and 
at last meant some one else by it. The bad taste of 
the name had a great deal to do with her misfor- 
tunes, it is my firm belief." 

"You are not such an infidel as you represent 
yourself," said Baruch. 

" Bahruch !" chanted Olympia again, and put 
forth the full power of her deepest notes to lay the 
most melancholy stress on the name. " Baruch ! 
no, that will not do; for your future wife's sake, 
take care that she does not meet the fate of mv 




poor Matilda; follow my advice and take another 
name. Has this cry of woe a meaning ?" 

" Oh, yes ! it means ' blessed.' " 

" Bravo ! Glorious !" cried Olympia, and clapped 
her hands. " Benedictus ! that is a glorious name. 
If you were a pope you would be the XIV.; seventy- 
üve years after your death you would be canonized, 
and people would make pilgrimages to the wonder- 
working tomb of St. Benedict. ' Dear Benedict,' 
listen how soft and tender that sounds; but Bah- 
ruch, brrr ! Give me your hand, and promise me 
henceforth to be called Benedictus. You are a 
learned man, so you must have a Latin name. 
You will be very celebrated some day, and then 
I shall have handed down a name to posterity. 
You must leave some occasion for wit to your ad- 
versaries. I can see how an anathema against you 
would begin: ^Benedictus est Spinoza^ quem recti us 
maledictum dixeris' * The Romans turned the town 
Malevent in Lower Italy into Benevent, and the 
wise Magister, who christened you so wittily, was 
after all only guilty of a plagiarism; but I can 
imagine how he would stroke his chin, the black 
cap on his learned head pushed back, simpering 
with satisfaction that he had branded you in a 

* Blessed is Spinoza named, who should rather be called 
cursed. . 



word And alas ! the merit will never be recog- 
nized; I am the originator of this sublime jest; but 
for me you would have been called Baruch for- 
ever; a name that Aristophanes himself might 
laugh at, but could never make a jest of." 

Olympia thus talked on, all opposition and, in- 
terruption from Baruch being fruitless. 

" If you will not follow my advice with free 
will," continued Olympia, " I will call you nothing 
from this minute but Rabbi Bahruhch; yes, I will 
buy a parrot, and teach him to repeat the words 
' Rabbi Bahruhch ' till he speaks them fluently; then 
I will hang him in the window, and when you come 
near the house he will call out to you, * Rabbi 
Bahruhch ! Rabbi Bahruhch ! ' I can see how the 
people will stop before the house to see what the 
individual can look like who is called by a name 
that sounds like a raven's croak. For the last time, 
will you follow my advice ?" 

** Did I not tell you the first day we met," said 
Oldenburg, " that Jufrow Olympia was the incar- 
nation of self-will ? Obey without dispute. You 
surely will not bring down strange torments on 
yourself ?" 

Baruch consented, and gave Olympia his hand, 
which she pressed warmly. 

"Sit down," she said; "and you, Herr Oldenburg, 
come here, you shall be witness of the baptism." 
She then laid her hands on Baruch's head, and 



said, " In the name of Aristotle, Bacon, and Des- 
cartes I give thee the name Benedictus; that the 
name may become great, and last forever and ever, 
and that, whenever thou writest that name, thou 
mayest think of her from whom the word arose. 
Benedicite ! In scecida scBculormn^ Amen /" The con- 
cluding words she sang to a church chant. 

" Have I done it right ?" she asked as she raised 
her hands, and as if involuntarily stroked Benedict's 
cheek with the right. 

"So well," said Oldenburg, "that if you should 
find my name Henry, or Hendrik as it is called in 
this country, unmusical, I would let you give me 
another without fear of being accused of blas- 
phemy. I should so like to know hew it feels to 
be under your blessing hands." 

Olympia blushed, but passed her hand over her 
face to hide her confusion. 



FROM the bright friendly circle where he was 
named Benedict he must return to the mo- 
notonous and uncongenial surroundings where he 
was called Baruch, and think and act as such. 

Why was the name Benedict more harmonious 
than the name Baruch ? It was only the prejudice 
of a Gentile, to whom the sacred language was 
unfamiliar and harsh. But yet is not this naming 
anew a sign that he was henceforth to live and 
think like the whole intellectual world in word and 
deed ? Is there not a deeper meaning in the fact 
that the patriarchs Abraham and Jacob altered 
their names on receiving a new covenant ? Darest 
thou create precedents for thyself from the Bible ? 
And always the Bible ? . . . 

Pondering thus Spinoza left the Van den Ende's 
house. His family name remained unaltered, and 
with it the indissoluble connection between his past 
and future; within these limits and depending on 
these associations to no one is granted the power 
of freely following out a train of thought. The 
crown he had once received in the title of Rabbi 
had passed from his brow; a fair consecrating hand 

A NEW MAN, 20 1 

had rested on his head, and given him another 

He went straight from Olympia to the School of 
the Crown of the Law. It struck him as irony that 
here, in this unrelieved monotony, men should 
crown themselves. It all seemed so dull and de- 
pressing, even more so than it really was. The gay 
jests and pleasant voice of Olympia still rang in his 
memory, the Litany of the scholars sitting here and 
there at the tables sounded discordantly in his ears. 
He sat down in a corner to follow his own thoughts 
undisturbed ever an open book, when Chisdai came 
to him and asked him the meaning of a difficult 
passage in the Talmud. Baruch did not spend 
long over it. 

"I always said," began Chisdai, ** that you would 
be a perfect Samson in intellect and learning. If 
people will not let you in and out, you take the 
door, locks and bolts and all, on your back, and 
carry them off; but for God's sake, and your hopes 
of his mercy, do not let yourself be allured by the 
Delilah to whom you are now straying. I have 
never seen her myself — God forbid ! — but from 
what I hear from others she is no longer young 
and should not be fair." 

" I do not know what you mean; let me alone," 
said Baruch crossly. 

"What I mean ?" replied the other. " How you 
pretend ! The physician's daughter, I mean; what 

202 spmozA. 

is her name ? Oh, Olympia van den Ende, who is 
so clever that she speaks seven languages. I entreat 
you, follow my advice; if those over there really 
mean well by you, they will have you out and out; 
act like a Samson, catch the foxes, bind their tails, 
set fire to them, and send them into the ripe corn- 
fields of the Philistines. You understand what I 
mean; but I fear, I fear, they will — God forbid ! — 
put out your eyes; they will take away thy strength, 
and make thee a jest." 

" It is a pity," replied Baruch, " you have not 
kept this new application of Samson's history to 
religious controversy for your morning's sermon. 
But, to add the conclusion to it, I will tell you, 
that if they could or would do what you mean, I 
too have the courage to cry with Samson, ' Let me 
die with the Philistines ! ' and act accordingly." 

It pained him like sacrilege to have Olympia's 
name spoken by Chisdai, and to see her graceful 
figure dragged into that dismal place. His dislike 
to Chisdai increased more and more, for he saw 
clearly how he watched every turn of his mind, 
and spied into its workings; he must have some 
special object in it, for Chisdai was not to be kept 
at a distance by even the- most marked rudeness. 
On that Sabbath Chisdai had given the first public 
evidence of his oratorical powers. The attempt 
was an utter failure. 

" I was not wholly unfavorably disposed towards 



Chisdai's suit for your sister Miriam," said his 
father as he left the synagogue with Baruch. 
" Chisdai has some fortune, and will some day 
have a fair addition to it; he is not so very plain, 
and I cannot understand what has come to Miriam, 
that she says she feels such an unconquerable aver- 
sion for him. I see now, however, that he will 
never be the remarkable man we thought he would 
be; and if I am not to have the pleasure of seeing 
my daughter the wife of a celebrated and learned 
author, I would rather give her to Samuel Casseres." 
Baruch assented. 

" I think it is time," continued his father, " that 
you should make yourself heard; it will give honor 
to your whole family. I should like to see you up 
there with my old eyes. Who knows how long I 
may be here to have the pleasure ?" 

Baruch made no reply; he thought a horrible 
dizziness would seize him if he stood up there like 
the others who spoke with such unhesitating deci- 
sion, as if they had seen the Lord God shuffle the 
cards, and knew exactly why he played this or that 
trump, and what he would or ought to play out in 
the future. 

"Why are you so thoughtful?" began his father 
again. " I verily believe you are shy; shame on you! 
you were so bold once. Do you remember how 
you once thought it would be the greatest happi- 
ness to stand up there, and pour forth the living 


word of the Spirit of God for the whole congrega 

tioii r 

" I am ill, I have almost always palpitation of the 
heart. You know not long ago I spat blood." 

"Pooh, pooh, excuses! I have already spoken to 
our Chacham Aboab; he is willing to let you preach 
this day fortnight. I will speak to Silva, our doctor; 
if he allows it you must fulfil my wishes, or I will 
not forgive you it on my death-bed." 

What could he reply to this ? Silva gave per- 
mission, and Baruch must prepare to preach. Who 
can imagine the conflicting feelings that were 
aroused by the composition of this sermon ? Who 
can calculate the mocking thoughts that followed 
him when he went to Olympia, and read with her 
the pictures of the gay, pleasurable life of the hea- 
thens; when he enjoyed the worldly jests of Olden- 
burg, and then returned to the working out of his 
sermon ? 

The young preacher had many books open before 
him in which to search for examples, similes and 
questions. His hand rested on an open volume of 
Maimonides, and his eyes wandered to the rows of 
books in shelves against the wall. There rested 
the words and thoughts of vanished minds. They 
too struggled, doubted, sorrowed and at last found 
peace. Is it not presumption to turn their life and 
learning to folly ? Thousands were wiser than thou 
art. Bow thy proud spirit in humility, and thou 

A NEW MAN. 20^ 

wilt again enter into peace; thou art heir of the 
blessedness which made happy those of old times. 
Thou wilt and thou canst, thou must. How wilt 
thou find the strength for a lonely ro3.d in which 
no one will follow thee but thine own conscious- 
ness ? The spirits of thy forefathers rise and bless 
thee, enclosing thee in their circle 

Such is the traditional consolation which up- 
holds the wavering powers as if with supernatural 
aid; long vanished capabilities return to help and 

A radiant ecstasy shone from the eyes of the 
gazer, and his left hand was laid on his breast as 
the new peace possessed it. Will this traditional 
consolation and resignation, which now pacifies the 
stormy struggle, always bring the same calm ? Or 
will the yearnings again awake in the soul that can 
only receive satisfaction from itself ? 

The appointed Sabbath came ; the silence of ex- 
pectation reigned in the synagogue as Baruch 
mounted the altar steps. What devil brought the 
image of Olympia at that moment before his mind 
so clearly that he heard her mocking tones, " Rabbi 
Baruch! Rabbi Baruch!" He summoned his reso- 
lution to banish all traces of the vision from his 
mind in such a time and place. He stood up as 
pale as a corpse, and dried the cold perspiration 
from his brow. All eyes were upon him. He be- 
gan in a trembling voice: 


"The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon 
him, to all that call upon him in truth." Ps. cxlv. 
i8. He represented in vivid colors the fate of the 
infidel, who had no God in Heaven, and none in 
his heart. He had come to the second part of his 
sermon, where he extolled the blessedness of the 
faith common to all men; he described the felicity 
of being even in life gathered to his fathers, united 
in the acceptation and building up of what was 
grounded by them; in this rests the strength of 
their earthly existence. His eloquence was fiery, 
his voice echoed powerfully, when he felt a violent 
choking sensation; he stopped, and blood flowed 
from his mouth into the damp handkerchief. 

The stillness of a graveyard pervaded the whole 
assembly; the people looked at one another, and 
then pitifully at the fainting youth. The father 
had already opened his mouth to tell his son to 
come down, when Baruch stood up again and closed 
the service with a short prayer. As with one mouth 
the whole congregation cried out, '* Jejasher Koach!" 
(the Lord strengthen thee) the usual applause in 
the synagogue. 

Baruch and his father left the synagogue imme- 
diately. As they passed Chisdai's seat, he asked 
kindly if he might accompany them. Baruch 
thanked hJm. In all quarters the Sabbath talk was 
of Baruch's misfortune; old women and the wise- 
acres prophesied melancholy things. Only Chisdai, 



usually not slow in his judgments, shrugged his 
shoulders when questioned. He had his reasons 
for not speaking out. 

In three days Baruch again left his bed. He 
wished to go to Olympia. 

"You shall never mention that house to me 
again," said his father in evident displeasure. 
" Fine tales I have heard of the little doctor. He 
is said to be the incarnation of Satan himself. The 
son of the indigo merchant, Grönhof, who died a 
week ago, confessed before his death that till then 
he had had no faith; the doctor had brought him to 
that pass. He has founded a whole sect. I did 
know the name; what is it called ? But whether or 
no, you shall never cross his threshold again." 

Baruch tried to dissuade his father, but he only 
went on: "The daughter is said to be worse than 
the father; she can talk the devil's ear off in seven 
different languages. I don't attend usually to com- 
mon talk, but this lady is surrounded by a swarm 
of learned flatterers. Believe me, I know the world 
better than you; there all is jesting, laughter and 
song, witty dispute, rich fanciful ideas, in finely 
expressed trifling. A pure mind like yours sees 
nothing in it but the laudable freedom and gayety 
of the classic world. I have heard it called so too; 
but, properly looked at, it is frivolous mummery, 
that recognizes neither law nor limit. Have your 
parents left their fair native land for this — resign- 


ing all glory and honor to endure mere sufferance 
— that now their children may fall into frivolous 
trifling with all that is most sacred ? You know the 
writings of our religion better than I, but I have 
more experience of the world. Let me not have it in 
vain. Believe me, you will find dust and ashes if 
you give yourself up to the allurements of the world. 
Remain in the quiet sanctuary of sacred learning, 
and rejoice that you can live there undisturbed, as 
you proclaimed this day yourself." 

The father's voice was deeply moved. Who knows 
how much lay behind these hastily uttered words ? 
Transplanted to a strange soil he had aged rapidly. 
It seemed as if sorrow still oppressed him, that the 
fair native land, with its proud pleasures, had van- 
ished forever for him. Perhaps for that reason he 
clung all the more to heavenly joys, and strove to 
bind his son to such alone. 

The father's existence was twofold. The rap- 
turous sensations that had filled his soul when 
Baruch received rabbinical honors were a com- 
bination of religious exaltation and worldly pride. 
On that Sabbath he was another man than on the 
days of work. He had still to struggle against mem- 
ories of the past, all the more since his wife had 
been torn from him; he strove continually, more 
than was apparently requisite, to live in the present, 
and external cares and sorrows oppressed him 
deeply. He was an exile; his own heart was never 



free from the painful recollections of his home. He 
had left it for the sake of his faith and to ensure 
to his children freedom of worship. As it must be 
so, all the more zealously was he determined to 
watch over his son, that the peace of his life also 
might not be disturbed by strange reminiscences. 
The youth, whom the physician had warned against 
all violent speaking, tried, in a soft voice and care- 
fully guarded language, to teach his father to think 
otherwise of Olympia and her friends. There was a 
knock at the door, and Oldenburg entered, accom- 
panied by a friend. Oldenburg advanced and held 
out his hand to Baruch. 

" That is well," he said; " you have not yet signed 
yourself a candidate for the lower world. We were 
anxious, because you gave us no information. 
Jufrow Olympia sends you her compliments; she 
remarked some time ago that you must be ill. So 
on her bidding I ventured to make my first call on 
you, and because I thought you must be seriously 
ill, I brought my friend Dr. Ludwig Meyer with me, 
who, moreover, has long wished to make your ac- 

" Yes, I was very anxious about my son," said his 
father, and Oldenburg bowed to the speaker. 

" So you are the father of our young philosopher ? 
Did you not come to me a short time ago about a 
claim on the house of Trost ?" 

" Yes," 


"Excuse me for being so short then; I was en- 
gaged with pressing business. I was very sorry I 
did not tell you so. Your affair was not forgotten, 
however. I wrote to Bremen concerning it, and re- 
ceived answer that if you were not paid within four 
weeks an execution would be put in." 

*' I am much obliged for your trouble, and for the 
honor you have done my house by this visit" 

Oldenburg then talked earnestly with the father, 
who felt himself, to his surprise, much taken with 
Oldenburg's open-hearted manner. It might be 
said that Oldenburg's whole behavior in tone and 
character was expressed in his voice, full, tranquil 
and trustworthy. He told the father that Baruch 
was the first Jew whom he had learned to know in- 
timately. He was not only astonished at his powers 
of mind, and in love with his noble spirit; he was 
under obligations to him for having removed pre- 
judices engrafted by early education and custom. 
Oldenburg's sincere and extraordinary affection for 
Baruch, never shown to him in words, was now re- 
vealed to his father, and made his countenance 
brighten with pleasure. The heart of the old 
Spaniard was stirred by the chivalric appearance 
of Oldenburg, whose grace was as a memory of his 

Meyer meanwhile conversed with Baruch on his 
breakdown of the previous Sabbath. 

"You should have followed the example of our 

A NEW MAN. . 211 

rough-spoken, brave old Dr. Luther," said the 
young physician with the dark complexion and 
flashing black eyes. 

" What did he do ?" inquired Baruch. 

" He once said: * When I mount the pulpit I look 
at the human beings, but regard them as mere 
blocks standing before me, and speak out God's 
word.' In a certain sense — in which sense, however, 
he did not mean it — I agree with him entirely. You 
must study the man; he has a certain proportion of 
faith which is wanting in me, but he was thoroughly 
honest. I am much interested in him." 

"I am glad you too are a theologian." 

"I lead a sort of amphibious life between theology 
and medicine." 

" Yes, Herr von Spinoza," said Oldenburg join- 
ing in the conversation. "Meyer has medicine for 
a wife, and theology for a mistress. You can dispute 
with him; he knows the Bible by heart." The father 
accompanied Oldenburg and Meyer to the door on 
their departure, and was not displeased that the 
passers-by should see who had visited him. His 
face was still bright when he returned to his son, 
and he said: 

"Herr Oldenburg thinks very highly of you. I 
know the difference well enough between mere 
patronage and real sincerity. You may congratu- 
late yourself on having such a gallant, upright man 
for a friend," 


"And yet I must avoid him and his associates?" 
asked Baruch. 

" I warned you," concluded his father, " against 
underhand work; you are sharp-sighted enough 
now to see through such. I have nothing against 
your being with Oldenburg." 

Spinoza continued his visits to Olympia un- 
hindered. He became more and more intimate 
with Oldenburg, while with Meyer their intellectual 
intercourse led, through their common zeal for 
study, to the same kind of intimacy which is 
brought about by travelling companionship, where, 
in the contemplation of the new and strange, they 
knew themselves to be in dear and trusted com- 
pany. Meyer was, though in some respects shal- 
low, well informed in modern speculation. The his- 
tory of nations, the study of physical science, then 
followed with newly awakened zeal, above all, the 
Cartesian philosophy opened new fields of study 
with which Spinoza now made himself familiar. 
The "Letters" and the "Treatise on Mankind," 
which had appeared posthumously, Descartes being 
then but lately dead, made his doctrine, just be- 
cause of the light thrown on one so lately gone 
from life, all the more impressive, for traces of the 
breath of that life yet lay therein, and even phi- 
losophy, which should remain independent of all 
contemporary influences, has an inexplicably special 
power in the presence of its origin. The treatise of 

A NE IV MAN. 213 

Descartes on " Method " especially gave our young 
thinker more immediate insight, for Descartes here 
unites to the history of his own development the 
foundations of thought in general, and of his own 
system of philosophy in particular. Just this sup- 
port from the individual facilitated his progress to 
the universal. 

The studies and investigations of our young 
friend had hitherto merely been extended to the 
limits of what had been done, showing the limit of 
the territory illuminated by extinguished emotional 
life. His mind was turned to the movements that 
agitated the world around him. Human nature 
and its peculiarities, and the wide kingdom of the 
manifold forms of nature around us here, with 
its governing laws, must now be learned. Is it im- 
possible ? Must it not be possible to ascertain the 
movements of immutable human nature as well 
as under similarly fixed laws we understand the 
natural life around us ? Is our knowledge merely 
a knowledge of the dead, of the dead around us 
and behind usf Is it not a knowledge of life 
alone ? . . ,. 

These were the questions to which his new 
studies led our young friend; a presentiment arose 
in him that he would be one of the first to fix the 
science of life. His friends were astonished by his 
affirming once in this sense that they who were 
aroused to real and conscious life must draw every- 


thing from the living principle within them and 
around them, and that therein lay the meaning of 
the enigmatical expression of Christ (Mat. viii. 22), 
" Let the dead bury their dead." In thought and 
expression the expositions of Spinoza had some- 
thing sacred and biblical, and this is exactly the 
spirit which, penetrates to the origin of all life; the 
eternal word is his also, if even it arises in a new 
form and with a partially new signification. Olden- 
burg, as well as Meyer, was often surprised at 
Spinoza's "philosophical naivete," as the former 
called it, while Meyer designated it " an intellectu- 
ally clean tongue." There seemed to be a contra- 
diction in speaking of " philosophical naivete," and 
yet this formed the original foundation of free 
thought as defined by Spinoza. In nothing could 
he accept the ordinary or traditional point of view; 
his individual perceptions remained uninfluenced 
by the doctrines set before him. He grasped the 
things of the material as well as the ideal world in 
a wholly original and unbiassed manner as though 
they were originated in him; as if he were the first 
to comprehend this given external world as well as 
the inner life of intellect. 

S^"^^ OF TUE '^ 




SPINOZA and Oldenburg stood laughing at 
Meyer, who was playing with a ridiculously 
impish figure of glass in a long phial; it jumped 
up and down, and twisted about, as Meyer pressed 
the india-rubber stopper and declaimed magic in- 
cantations. He soon, however, ended the jest by 

"Is philosophy from beginning to end anything 
more than this hollow imprisoned idea, the glass 
imp in the phial ?" No one answered, and he con- 
tinued, addressing Spinoza in particular: "What 
do you think of Descartes' imp? Two thousand 
years ago the creator of such a wonder might have 
been the founder of a religion; his praise would 
have been chanted in hymns to the furthest corners 
of the earth, and all mankind would have entreated 
his aid." 

"That is very doubtful," was the reply. "With- 
out some new world-stirring idea no mere worker of 
miracles has made his name immortal. Descartes* 
imp is nothing to the miracles the Jewish Cabbalists 
are said to have performed." 


"Tell us them," said Meyer, while Oldenburg 
made a wry face as Spinoza began: 

" In my father's house we have an old servant 
named Chaje. She is German, and is full of the 
legends and superstitions of the German Jews. She 
once explained to me why at Prague on Friday 
evening they sing the hymn twice over by which 
Israel is united in mystic bonds of matrimony to 
the Sabbath. Once upon a time a great Cabbalist 
lived in Prague, called the Rabbi Low. He made a 
human figure of clay, and left a small aperture in 
the lesser brain in which he laid a parchment with 
the unutterable name of God written on it. The 
clod immediately arose and was a man; he per- 
formed all the duties of a servant for his creator, 
he fetched water, and hewed wood. All through 
the Jews' quarter he was known as the Golem of 
the great Rabbi Low. Every Friday evening the 
Rabbi took the parchment out of his head, and he 
was clay until Sunday morning. Once the Rabbi 
forgot this duty. All were in the synagogue, the 
Sabbath hymn was begun, when all the women and 
children in the assembly started and screamed out, 
' The Golem ! the Golem is destroying everything ! ' 
The Rabbi ordered the precentor to pause at the 
end of the prayer. It was yet possible to save all, 
but later naught would avail, the whole world 
would be destroyed. He hastened home, and saw 
the Golem already seizing the joists of his house 


to tear down the building; he sprang forward, took 
the parchment out, and dead clay again lay at his 
feet. From that day they sang the Sabbath bridal 
song twice over in Prague. The great Rabbi Low 
certainly never thought of Descartes, and yet his 
Golem had as much life as any man, if we are to 
accept the new view, that the union between soul 
and body is so slight that at any moment it can be 
disjoined, and again reunited." 

Meyer did not seem to notice the argumentative 
conclusion, for he said: 

**When I publish my correspondence between 
Adam and Eve, your Golem shall have an honorable 
position therein." 

With evident displeasure Oldenburg turned to 

"Meyer is perpetually hunting after strange 
stories, which he arranges and classifies like his 
beetles and butterflies. To my taste your legend 
savors of Jewish spleen. To let a destroyer of the 
world, the creation of a Cabbalist, loose on the 
Jews' quarter ! If, after the free manner of the 
popular legends, he had a love affair with a maiden, 
who every Sabbath awaited him in vain, or had he 
been a grand vizier, or advanced to be some other 
great minister, whom his master could reduce to 
dust, and raise again at will, there would at least 
be either poetry or satire in the thing; as it is 
the Golem of our lord and master pleases me 


much better. Look, his bows are so graceful that 
no dame of the court of Louis XIV. could excel 

" Lord and master!" replied Spinoza; "that is too 
strong. I am neither his servant nor his pupil." 

" What do I hear ?" asked Meyer in astonishment. 
" How long is it since you began to study his system 
with me, and you already go beyond him, while I 
am only glad if I can understand him ?" 

" I fear for our friendship," interrupted Olden- 
burg. " You have so often said that a similarity of 
intellectual power must exist between friends, and 
I have never once been able to grasp the system. 
It was principally the astonishing externals that 
attracted me first to the new teaching of Descartes; 
I investigated the entrails of a calf with him will- 
ingly; he called it his library, and found surprising 
evidences therein; but to the vital principle of his 
philosophical system I never could attain. I bolted 
my door, I curtained my window, I sat down in a 
corner alone, and concentrated my mind on the 
book; for two or three sentences, for half an hour, 
even an hour, I followed him completely; then arose, 
without my knowing it, some strange thought be- 
tween the lines: a former experience, a wish, above 
all, the memory of a girl whom I once fervently 
loved, intervened between the propositions, axioms, 
corollaries, and I saw at last that I wished to pene- 
trate to the foundation of things, and yet could 



not distract myself from every-day life. I laid the 
book down and took another, or went out and 
dissipated my vexation and my cares." 

" How is it then that you pass for so enthusiastic 
a disciple of Descartes, and sometimes are really 
such ?" 

" I must go rather far back for that. In the first 
place I am mostly a Cartesian, because I have gone 
through much the same career of doubt as the 
founder of the school. My father was pastor of the 
place where I was born; from childhood I sat in his 
library and read everything. Witch legends, his- 
tory, anatomy, alchemy and theology, all came 
alike to me if I had something to read. When I 
was older, this miscellaneous knowledge mixed and 
fermented in my brain; religious doubts intervened; 
in nothing and in no occupation could I find any 
real pleasure. After my father's death, to the 
great scandal of the worthy citizens of my native 
town, I led a somewhat loose life, but that did not 
amuse me long. I tied up my bundle and followed 
the banners of Gustavus Adolphus as a volunteer. I 
was employed as commissioner to raise the contribu- 
tions demanded by the Swedish host from my native 
town, and so gained considerable importance among 
my fellow citizens. The trade of war, for it was 
nothing more, soon wearied me. In camp and on 
the march doubts of all the faiths, for whose differ- 
ences men fought so bloodily, overtook me. It was 

220 SPINOZA. ^ 

continual murder for no one knows what. The most 
superstitious of all popular ideas, that of bravery, 
alone made its value felt on its own merits. As 
Hugo Grotius says, towns and countries became as 
corpses, that men might no longer grieve for the 
fate of individuals. I long doubted whether I did 
right or not; a trivial circumstance at last decided 
me. I took my leave and went to the University 
of Utrecht. The students and professors there were 
divided into two parties; you can imagine that I 
did not hesitate long in ranking myself against the 
pious pastor, Gisbert Votius, and on the side of 
Regius. He taught the new philosophy of Descartes. 
I was then twenty-one years of age, full of arrogance 
and restless energy, and as I had made something 
of a name as a swordsman I soon won a certain 
amount of authority among the students." 

"Yes, I can assure you," interrupted Meyer, "I 
have faithfully seconded Oldenburg when he en- 
forced the belief on the Vötiusians that they were 
predestined to have circumflex accents and all other 
marks of Cain written on their brows by us." 

" What a much more active youth you had than 
I," sighed Spinoza. 

"That is the question," answered Meyer, and 
Oldenburg resumed his narration. 

"As Regius became more and more bitterly per- 
secuted by Votius the father and son, without the 
spirit, we went one evening to the house of his Ex- 


cellency and set up some cat's music there. I was 
expelled as a ringleader; Meyer slipped through 
with a whole head; so I was a martyr for a doctrine 
which, as I saw later, Regius himself did not rightly 
understand. I wandered about Holland and stayed 
for some months with Descartes himself. I know 
nearly every sentence of his doctrine, but I never 
could acquire the penetrative conternplativeness 
necessary to follow this germ through all its trellis 
work of development to the lattice of mathemati- 
cal certainty." 

"It is often so with me too," said Meyer; "I re- 
turned from my philosophical pilgrimage, on which 
I would conquer the Holy Sepulchre, wrong-side 
up, or, as our proverb says, 'feet foremost.' " 

" Oldenburg has described the struggle better 
as one for contemplative power," replied Spinoza. 
"Look around; here, there and everywhere you 
see illusion and error. What assurance have you 
that all you see, all you know by experience, and 
feel in your heart is aught else than illusion and 
deception ? What is so firmly and deeply founded 
that it cannot be torn up by doubts ? So you close 
your eyes, cut loose from all your surroundings, and 
then, thus isolated, the whole visible world is cast 
into nonentity; you yourself perhaps a nonentity 
too ? How do you know that you really exist ? 
Here you are at the end of doubt, and here a still, 
small voice cries to you, 'I, I am, for I think, I 


doubt my being; I, the thought, the doubt within 
me, I exist, even if all around me disappe'ar in 
illusion and shadow.' Begin with doubt and you 
can stop at no arbitrary resting-place. Why doubt 
only the higher spiritual things ? Has the physical 
world greater certainty because it is apparent to 
the senses ? Are the deceptions of our senses more 
numerous than the illusions of our hearts and im- 
aginations ? Can you not imagine yourself a purely 
spiritual being. Can you not lay aside as prejudice 
all that hitherto appeared certainty, for example, the 
existence of your body ? If not, you will strive in 
vain after incontrovertible truth. Can you do it, 
however. Then, if you have penetrated the central 
point of your self-consciousness, then forward ! 
Open your eyes; let everything come before them 
that was hitherto confined to your thoughts; let 
nothing remain unexamined. You have a measure 
of the truth and existence of everything: what 
seems to you as incontrovertible as your knowledge 
of your own self, that alone is truth." 

" I understand you," said Meyer. " You arrive at 
the fundamental axiom of the ancients, ' Man is the 
measure of all things.' The inner man as well as 
the outer man is a foot-rule, as we place the figures 
of men in pictures to show dimensions by contrast. 
Man is the ideal, universally accepted yard measure 
for the world." 

"But if any spoke with further skepticism," inter- 


rupted Oldenburg. " I have no perfect assurance 
of that fundamental truth which should serve me 
as a rule, and I stilV do not know whether any inner 
intelligence dwells in me or not ?" 

" Either such an one would speak against his own 
consciousness, or we must believe that there are 
men who, by birth or prejudice, that is, through 
outward circumstances, are spiritually blind. For 
such do not think about themselves; whether they 
agree with or doubt anything, they do not know 
what they do; they say they do not know, and then 
even do not know that they do not know. They do 
not say it absolutely, for they are afraid to recognize 
their existence as know-nothings, so they must re- 
main silent if they will not recognize anything that 
yet comprises a truth. In short, with such it is im- 
possible to speak of knowledge, for in daily life and 
intercourse they are obliged to recognize of neces- 
sity that they exist, that they use their judgment, 
and witness on oath in favor of one and against 
another. But if anything is proved to them, they 
do not know whether the proof is there; deny, 
agree with, or dispute, they know naught of it; they 
are soulless automatons. For reasonable men, how- 
ever, proof lies in the spiritual eyes. We can see 
the unseen things, which are but the objects of 
our thoughts, with no other eyes than with these 

" You are becoming quite enthusiastic," said 


Meyer, " Lucian disposed of the whole in a jest by 
making a radical doubter be sold as a slave, and 
still doubt under the lash of slavery." 

*' But what does Descartes mean," asked Olden- 
burg, " by his unprofitable dicing with quadrangles, 
triangles, and the devil knows what angles ?" 

" Mathematical proof," answered Meyer, ''' is alone 
admissible. The definitions are the exact represen- 
tations of an object described with its name and 
attributes; the postulates and axioms by which the 
proposition is proved are such truisms that whoever 
knows the alphabet must see them." 

"You must come yet nearer, and be yet more 
definite," interposed Spinoza. " Definitions merely 
affirm the essence of a thing; attributes cannot be 
learned by definitions, they must be learned by ex- 
perience. By mathematical laws alone can we under- 
stand and follow up all things, all processes of both 
the external and internal world. Everything is 
the necessary and inevitable result of its primal 
cause. Mathematical truths alone have the same 
inherent necessity and external evidence as our 
consciousness of ourselves. By the same means 
that I know certainly that I am, I also know that 
the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right 
angles. The intricacies of higher mathematical 
problems make no difference, for they all rest on 
the same simple and incontrovertible principles, 
and every link of their necessary progress is as in- 


controvertible as the principle itself. A number, 
as such, is the earliest definite idea; it is without 
regard to the characteristics of things, and merely, 
includes their existence. Apples, trees, men and 
beasts are all included. Larger growth does not 
increase the number, but draws from the first ab- 
stract idea a second, and letters are set in the place 
of numbers. The individual objects now lie far 
apart, but at all times we must be prepared to re- 
trace their origin. To the building up of the whole 
intelligence, however, this would be a hindrance; 
here we have only to deal with pure thought — " 

" And he who gets dizzy over it let him remain 
on the ground," jestingly interrupted Meyer. And 
Oldenburg inquired: 

" Do you believe in the possibility of mathemati- 
cal psychology ?" 

" Call it so if you like," continued Spinoza; " the 
conditions and laws of action of our intelligence 
and sensations have as definite rules as anything 
in nature; they are as ascertainable, they must be 
so; all that prevents us from being so to ourselves 

"And custom and passion put a stroke through 
the calculation," interposed Meyer. "In you Des- 
cartes is a second time Renatus.* If the master 

* Descartes' Christian name was Renatus, and this pun is in 
a poem prefixed to the first work of Spinoza, which was edited 
and prefaced by Ludwig Meyer. 


called the inside of a calf his library, you have a 
much better. You have learned the weapons of both 
sides in the enemy's camp. The Jesuit school edu- 
cated and inspired Descartes — the Talmud school 
you. What wonderful ways hath history ! But 
you will go further yet. I see you with a broom 
at the mast-head, like our Admiral Tromp, sailing 
the ocean, as a sign that you have cleared the ele- 
ments of life of arbitrary prejudices." 

Spinoza entered into the jesting humor of his 
friend, only so far pursuing his object as to explain 
that even this stroke through the calculation must 
be an effect of the same cause; that the passions 
must not be regarded as exceptional, but recog- 
nized as natural laws. Meyer tried in all ways to 
analyze Spinoza's intellectual method, and bent on 
this study he came again to talk with him. 

" I have been thinking," he said to him one day, 
"of what you once said to me about the study of 
the Talmud, and think I understand how it is that 
you Jews can clamber up and down such intellect- 
ual ladders; if you jump over two or three rounds 
you do not miss your footipg. It all comes by 
studying the Talmud, which accustoms you so 
early to free intellectual gymnastics. We, how- 
ever — I can only use myself for an example — we 
were very differently trained. If one of us bring a 
thought into the world the midwives of the cate- 
chism come, and in accordance with immemorial 




custom and manipulation, the embryo is brought 
to light, then it is wrapped in cotton-wool and tied 
into a pillow that it may not freeze, and when it is 
older goes in leading strings." 

" I know your methods of education too little," 
replied Spinoza, '' and so cannot rightly understand 
how a religion with a dogmatic-historic basis can 
be developed in a Socratic manner; but what 
you say of the Jews may be true enough. It has 
often happened that, like David, they have over- 
thrown a champion well armed and practised in 
rules of fence with a well-directed pebble; but this 
want of discipline destroys all true, well-founded 
learning among the Jews. My endeavor is to with- 
draw myself from that vagabond intellectual life, 
and follow the progress of a study from point to 
point. Herein Descartes is my surest leader." 

How wonderful it is that the thousand buds on 
a tree open at once ! They are but one flower-cup, 
and the innumerable trees but one blooming tree, 
but to the eyes of men they are thousands. So 
bloom the flowers in the heart of man. It is but 
one force that awakens our intelligence, will, be- 
nevolence and love; we, however, can only see 
them individually. 

The kingdom of knowledge and the joys of 
friendship awoke in Spinoza together; indeed, they' 
were but one; for knowledge is the joyful recogni- 
tion of external laws, the endeavor after, and con- 


sciousness of agreement with them;' and friendship 
is the living practice of them in more defined form, 
impelling us by the same forces. 

Yet a third powerful influence worked on Spi- 
noza which he dared not name to himself. 



OLYMPIA sat at the window and looked in the 
window seat mirror, the so-called " spy," a 
standing evidence of Dutch love of comfort and 
sight-seeing. A young man stood by the lady. He 
was of middle height; his oval face, when seen in 
profile, might have been called handsome; it had 
some resemblance to Olympia's, but there was 
none of the restless fire in his glance that shone 
from Olympia's eyes. His left hand rested on the 
gilt handle of his rapier, and with his right he 
stroked his blonde whiskers. Every now and then he 
screwed up his eyes and looked out of the corners 
at every point in his costume. It was all faultless: 
the white cravat was in its proper position, the 
black mantle of finest Venetian velvet fell in ma- 
jestic folds, and the tassel of gold thread hung 
gracefully on his breast, the quilted satin breeches 
were tied ornamentally at the knees, the silk stock- 
ings, and shoes with gold buckles, all were irre- 
proachable. *' Look there," said Olympia, and the 
well-dressed individual looked at her amiably; " do 
you see that young man who is coming so thought- 
fully down the street ?" 


The person addressed quickly drew a red mo- 
rocco case from his pocket, and took a jewelled 
opera-glass from it. 

" Do you mean that one ?" he then said. " He is 
of middle height and brown complexion; is he not 
a Jew ?" 

"Whatever he is," replied Olympia, "he comes 
of an honorable Spanish family. My father re- 
spects him highly, and I — I consider him one of 
my dearest friends. Just because he was born a 
Jew, whom the whole world is against, he has 
attained to an unprejudiced conscientiousness of 
judgment, an unswerving rectitude, which com- 
mand our regard, and often put us to shame." 

" But what do you say to my physiognomical 
guess ?" continued the stranger as he curled his 
moustache round his first finger, and let his glance 
wander complacently to the window-glass in which 
he saw himself reflected. " I too find the Jews 
very interesting; they are a sort of historical relic, 
and I have to thank you for my taste for history. 
I look upon the Jews as a fragment of some Asiatic 
root which we can study in this strange form." 

" Had you much intercourse with Jews in Ham- 
burg ?" inquired Olympia. 

"You jest," was the reply, "but I know the Jews 
thoroughly. En detail, there may be many honor- 
able men among them. In my native town there 
was an old rogue to whom I used to sell my old 


Clothes. I had many a joke with him; he took 
everything in good part if he could make a good 
bargain; covetous as he was, I have still seen sev- 
eral instances of his uprightness; but looked at en 
gros all Jews are pickpockets; a dirty, disgusting 
lot, who, alas ! my father has often said, will soon 
have all the trade of our town to themselves. Only 
think ! I had a friend staying with me once who 
actually condescended to a noble passion for a 
Jewess, so much so, indeed, that he actually thought 
of uniting himself to his Rachel. I cannot yet 
understand how a man of honorable family could 
bear to have a dirty Jew for a brother-in-law smell- 
ing of leeks. But the maiden appears to have been 
educated above her greasy locked compatriots. 
One morning my friend was in Cuxhaven when 
they were dragging a corpse out of the water. He 
recognized it as Rachel. We had to hold him to 
prevent him from doing himself a mischief. I was 
right sorry for my friend's trouble. He swore hard 
and fast that he would never belong to another, 
but one knows what those vows are. He recovered 
sooner than we expected, and in a year he was 
the happy spouse of a town councillor's daughter. 
When we remind him of his earlier passion he 
only laughs quietly. Surely Jufrow Olympia either 
jests or plays with paradoxes when she honors a 
Jew with the enviable title of her best friend." 
During this discourse Olympia had placed her- 


self at the organ and lightly played a prelude. She 
looked quietly at the stranger, who emphasized his 
words and beat time with his thumb and finger, 
which he had passed through a ring. 

"You have gained much experience of life," she 
said at last, ''but you forget that you are in Hol- 
land, where religions are not divided into dominant 
and subordinate. I believe Amsterdam is the only 
town in the world which has carried toleration so 
far that Christians have been converted to Judaism. 
You must be acquainted with de Spinoza; believe 
me, he is a remarkable man. You are not ill- 
natured; be friendly with him for my sake. But 
hush ! here he comes." 

Spinoza entered. 

" Here is Herr Kerkering at last," said Olympia, 
*'of whom I have often spoken to you as my pupil 
of years ago, and who was prevented from return- 
ing to us by his father's death." 

"You will assuredly approve of my resolution, 
Herr de Spinoza," interrupted Kerkering, "to re- 
turn again to Jufrow Olympia, and hear the wis- 
dom of the ancients from her honeyed lips." 

"A questionable compliment," replied Olympia; 
" you say I have yellow lips, and remind me of my 
age." Kerkering protested. Spinoza helped him 
out by saying: 

" You have probably forgotten, Herr Kerkering, 
that Jufrow Olympia demands, like the highest 



Being, that we should make no image of her of 
things heavenly or earthly." 

" O you heretic!" said Olympia, and her flash- 
ing eyes seemed indeed capable of an auto-da-fe. 
"You will surely permit Herr Kerkering," she 
continued after a pause, " to join our Latin con- 
versations. I cannot call them lessons now." 

Spinoza agreed, and while he was speaking 
Oldenburg entered. He looked Kerkering over, as 
Olympia introduced him, with a rapid glance. 

"I thought I should meet thee here," he said 
turning to Spinoza, " and so spared myself the 
journey to thy house." 

"Thou?" said Olympia. "Oh, the cordial thou! 
how lucky men are that they can address their 
friends so when they please without hesitation. 
The Romans little knew their good fortune in ad- 
dressing each other as thou. I am proud that you 
two are already so intimate, as I was the means of 

"If two quantities are equal to a third then the 
three are equal," jested Spinoza. 

"And not a fourth also?" inquired Olympia. 
"We are here the representatives of four great 
powers; we will conclude a quadruple alliance. 
You must represent Moses, Herr von Spinoza; you 
Calvin, Herr Oldenburg; Herr Kerkering, you must 
stand up for your Luther, and I — I will represent 
the Pope; he cannot object, for I am called Olympia 


Maria Honoria. Herr Kerkering, give the two 
gentlemen your hands. We have long been allies; 
we four will represent the circle which includes 
and reconciles all religious differences." 

" I am afraid that is the reverse problem of the 
squaring of the circle," said Oldenburg as he joined 
them, and added, " You go even further than Hugo 
Grotius, who also dreamed of an eternal Peace of 
the Religions, but forgot the Jews in his projected 

Olympia took Kerkering's hands and placed 
them in the hands of the two friends. 

" Always extravagant and arbitrary !" said Olden- 
burg to Spinoza, as they went away. *' Women 
never can resist match-making; if they are mar- 
ried, they try to find similar good fortune for 
others; if they have one friend, another must be his 
friend also, even if by force. What has this Ker- 
kering, whom she treats like an automaton, to do 
with us ?" 

" You should not be so discontented with such 
alliances," replied Spinoza; " it is another example 
for your lord and master, Descartes. Without the 
perpetual external interference of a higher third 
element no real existence can be imagined; all 
would fall to pieces." 

Chapter xiv. 


WHILE Spinoza was absorbed in consideration 
of the actual existence of things, the inherent 
cause of their existence, their necessary and acci- 
dental destinies, and the appropriate mathematical 
demonstrations of Descartes, his father had also 
been considering the sufficient cause of actual ex- 
istence, and his demonstrations were not less 
founded on ciphers and numbers than the philoso- 

" Are you still resolved not to be a Rabbi ?" he 
said one day to his son. "Have you thought over 
all the consequences to both you and me ? I, alas ! 
see my greatest joy sink before me into the grave." 

" In the sayings of the Fathers it is written," an- 
swered Baruch in a low voice, " that Rabbi Zadok 
said, * Make not a crown of glory of thy knowledge 
of the sacred law to pride thyself thereon, neither 
make a spade thereof wherewith to dig.' It always 
goes ill with a religion if its expounders earn 
wages thereby." 

"Good, I am of Rabbi Zadok's opinion; but 
what if a man hath no other spade ? Listen to me; 
I will be open with you. Our Miriam is now the 



betrothed of Samuel Casseres; he wishes, with Re- 
becca's husband, to enlarge the diamond mill; he has 
fresh secrets. My daughters are now, with God's 
help, taken care of; you alone remain. Should I 
have concealments from you? My lawsuit is going 
against me, and what I have to leave you at my 
death is so little that you could not live on it. 
May God preserve my children and my children's 
children from saying with sorrow^ in their daily 
prayers, ' Lord, let us not be bounden to them of 
flesh and blood for alms ! ' So tell me what is to 
be done?" 

"Must I go into trade?" 

"No, I should never agree to that; from child- 
hood up you have had no inclination for trade. 
Now, indeed, there are new channels for com- 
merce, and we need not be so confined as we 
are in Holland here, where each one snaps the op- 
portunity from before the other's face. There is 
no use in going to Batavia, for it goes so ill with 
those that'are there that many wish to return; but 
there is a report that Rabbi Manasseh Ben Israel, 
who is treating with the Lord Protector, may prob- 
ably obtain leave for the Jews to go to England 

"I heard of it," answered Baruch. "Rabbi Ma- 
nasseh won most votes by saying that the true 
coming of the Messiah could not be until the ful- 
filment of the prophecy that the Jews would be 


scattered through all lands. It was a sophistical 

"That may be," said his father, "the greater pro- 
portion of people cannot be treated any other way 
than by being duped, so we do them that favor. 
But that is not what concerns us. Consider how 
you are to ensure a livelihood in the future." 

" Rabbi Gamaliel teaches that ' Study of the law 
united with a trade is good; diligence in both 
causes us to forget sin; study without work is idle- 
ness, and leads to sin.' " Baruch then gave several 
examples of fathers of the synagogue who were 
handicraftsmen, and concluded with the words, " I 
should like to learn a handicraft." 

"You need not quote the Talmud so much for 
it; I have nothing against your learning an honora- 
ble craft." 

Spinoza was glad that his father was not merely 
moved by his examples to agree to his purpose, for 
he had in a measure thereby lent himself to well- 
known "pious deceptions." He was firmly resolved 
never to join in the usual routine, and sell his 
knowledge and convictions for daily bread. If he 
could earn his livelihood by the labor of his hands, 
his convictions would remain free from the neces- 
sities and constraints of every-day life. Or even 
to minds of the first order does that vague, unsatis- 
fied longing occur, which so often comes over us 
if we are fated always and always to drive the pen. 


to inspire dead words, and dig out and chisel new 
thoughts and feelings ? Do they feel that irresisti- 
ble need for physical exercise to restore the over- 
strained nerve power ? 

Our young friend found plentiful consideration 
in the decision as to what handicraft he would de- 
vote himself to. He now remembered how often 
he had stood near the diamond mill, and watched 
the horses in the lower story as they turned the 
wheel that set in motion the machinery in the mill 
above. The polishing and cutting of diamonds was 
the secret of his co-religionists, an attraction for 
the boy, as well as the knowledge, freely entrusted 
to him, that diamonds could only be cut and pol- 
ished with diamond dust. How often, on his way 
to the Talmud school, or Magister Nigritius, had he 
stood in self-forgetfulness at the open doors or 
windows of the workshops while the men inside 
pursued their trade. The boy's eyes had been fas- 
cinated by this handicraft, and a longing for simi- 
lar work possessed his mind. Now for the first 
time the knowledge flashed upon him that what we 
call a free decision is really only the result of past 
influences, often generating again its own scarcely 
perceptible results. He paused but little to consider 
this fleeting thought, for his imagination dwelt on 
the numerous workshops wherein the powers of 
man build up and mould the results of nature into 
new shapes. Only he who reforms and controls 


the materials of life has received irue life. What a 
thousandfold blessing lies in work itself, as well 
as in its results. One hand clasps the other, and 
one thought runs into another in the imagination 
of its effects. The whole activity of man forms one 
immense fraternal workshop. Here, too, however, 
one individual has forcibly separated from another, 
and as the churches had done in the kingdom of 
thought and feeling, so had the guilds in the handi- 
crafts of their chosen companies. There was no 
legal prohibition excluding the Jews from any trade, 
but custom and convenience made the guild-masters 
exclusive and reluctant. 

Again it was Descartes from whom Spinoza 
received the decisive impulse towards his object. 
Spinoza was studying the " Dioptrika" of Des- 
cartes, and there learned for the first time the law 
of refraction, and the first correct explanation of 
the rainbow. The objection raised by Huyghens, 
and universally shared, that Descartes had taken 
the law from the manuscript of Snellius, then widely 
circulated through Holland, and had learned the 
explanation of the rainbow from Antonio de Dom- 
inis and Kepler, without acknowledging either, 
all this appeared trivial to our young inquirer; but 
it disturbed him to think that deception should exist 
even in the don^ain of intellect. The otherwise en- 
igmatical saying of the Talmud, " Whoever reveals 
a word or thought in the name of its author, he 



brings salvation to the world," now appeared to 
him a law of truth. 

This proceeding of Descartes, if inexcusable, was 
still explicable in that he was accustomed as a 
courtier to find himself with easy adaptability 
among the strange and objective, and to regard it 
easily as his own and subjective. 

It was with pure enthusiasm that the determina- 
tion took firm hold of Spinoza to owe his livelihood 
solely to his own activity; to owe it to no inheri- 
tance, and in the same manner to find the truth by 
his own intellect. 

One day Spinoza explained to his father that he 
wished to learn the art of making optical glasses. 

''But that is a trade that barely feeds a man," 
replied his father; "how can you support a family 
on it ? Or do you intend our honorable name to 
die out with you ?" 

Spinoza did not answer this remonstrance imme- 
diately; perhaps he hoped and expected to perpet- 
uate the name in another manner. He had touched 
a painful chord in his father's mind, and while 
explaining his inclination for independence he re- 
marked that a Rabbi, by his salary as well as by 
grateful offerings, was but a servant of individuals. 
Mingled melancholy and pride was on the face of 
the fatheratthis statement; he nodded assentingly. 
The old Spaniard recognized in his son the same 
proud spirit which was not yet dead in himself. If 



a man cannot win from society respect and power, 
it is as well to avoid it, and in seclusion lose all 
care for it. So it seemed to the father; and again 
we see the loosened foundations and singular mix- 
ture of circumstances that awoke the powers of 
Spinoza to their full bloom. 

"As far as I am concerned," the father agreed 
at last, " having thought over all the trades, I can 
think of none better if one has no great capital." 

Father and son went to the skilful and well- 
known master. Christian Huyghens, an uncle of the 
mathematical scholar of that name, but who seemed 
to have neither the poetical genius of his brother, 
nor that of his nephew. 

Spinoza explained to the master, in the course of 
conversation, that he already knew the laws of 
optics, and had also considerable acquaintance with 
mathematics; he then inquired if it were possible 
to learn the handiwork in half a year. The 
master, who, till then, had listened quietly to all 
remarks, sprang up at this so violently that his 
spectacles dropped from his nose. 

" The deuce you can ! May I turn Catholic, what 
maggots the youth of this day have In their heads !" 
he cried. '* I have been seven and forty years in the 
business, and I may say I understand it, and can 
teach it to others; but I have people in the work- 
shop who have already been five and seven years at 
it, and if I lay a microscope down there may I eat 



it as it stands if any one of them can put it together 
as it ought to be. You think you can learn every- 
thing out of books. I would not give a snap for all 
your histories; paper is patient, and lets you print 
what you like on it. I once tried to make a micro- 
scope after a description as it stood in the book, 
but it was good for nothing. Whoever is not in 
the business himself will never know as long as he 
lives how to bring the right focus into the gl'ass. 
Go away with your learned disquisitions !" The 
master's wife came in; she had the pincers in her 
hand, and flourished the instrument violently. 

*'Yes," she cried; 'Mf they could only learn how 
in a trice, every ignoramus would come here and 
turn optician in less than no time." 

It was no little trouble to pacify the good folks 

" I am a man like a lamb," then said the master; 
" if you cannot get on with me you will never get 
on with any one in this world." 

" Yes, he is only too good to the people," inter- 
rupted his wife, "and what he wastes on other 
people I have to make up for." 

"Never mind," said the master; "you take good 
care of yourself; but I will be honest with you, you 
shall not have it to say later that I kept anything 
back from you. In the first place, it is an unhealthy 
trade. Look at me, see what I am; I have already 
swallowed more than three hundredweighj: of glass. 



I know I shall not last much longer. God's will 
be done !" 

" Don't belie yourself, Christian," interrupted his 
wife; "if one is as strong as that in the sixties, 
and for three years has not paid the doctor or the 
apothecary a farthing, I think one may thank God. 
You must not believe all he says." 

"Let me speak, I know what I am saying," re- 
torted the master, trying to give himself an air of 
importance. He first clasped his little finger round 
the ring-finger of his left hand, then said, " Sec- 
ondly, it is a poor trade; you get nothing by it." 

"Yes, yes, he is right there," commented his 
wife. " When we began business we and the late 
Greenwond, who lived by the Town Hall that is 
burned down, were the only two, and there are 
twenty-three in the town now; we hardly earn 
water enough for soup, and the worst of it is we 
cannot for shame give up the business. We are two 
old people and do not need much; with scraping 
and saving we manage to pull through, so that at 
the end of the year we still keep our things to- 
gether. I don't know how folks get on with a house 
full of children, living on scanty wages." 

His father, moved by these representations, 
would have retracted his consent, but Spinoza 
stood firm; so they came to an agreement with the 
master that, for a moderate premium, Spinoza 
should learn as long from him as he pleased. 



Such was the wholly new atmosphere, one filled 
with the smell of pitch and glass dust, into which 
Spinoza now entered. Henceforward he spent the 
greater part of the day in the workshop. He learned 
to handle the sharp diamond set in one leg of a com- 
pass, to cut pieces of a certain size out of panes, 
the pieces still keeping their crystal facets when 
split. Spinoza then entered on the first grade of 
the honorable art of polishing. The cut piece was 
fixed on a vise with pitch, this fixed to a lever, and 
a wheel worked with the right foot. A strap was 
fastened round this and to a roller, on which was 
fixed a perfectly smooth plate of lead. The plate 
turned, and with the left hand the fragment of 
glass was pressed against it, thus inscribing suc- 
cessive circles on it until the glass received the 
required form. Wet sand must be continually scat- 
tered over it to avoid setting the hard material on 
fire by friction, and to increase the roughness of 
the lead. The first stage was then finished. 
Spinoza would have preferred a less troublesome 
and, above all, a cleaner handicraft; but it was just 
these additions to his work which became his in- 
tellectual means to further penetration of the laws 
of existence. Men are much inclined to regard 
apparently rough and repulsive labors as inferior. 
Spinoza accustomed himself to regard the circum- 
stances of life, not according to their popular 
estimation, but on the essential grounds of their 



existence. The work is but unclean 'from one 
point of view; while engaged in it the workman is 
covered with dust and sand, but its aim is the 
highest degree of purity and cleanliness. At the 
second stage it was decided whether the smooth 
glass was to receive a concave or a convex form, 
and a concave or convex brass plate accordingly- 
fixed on the cylinder; a screw was fixed alternately 
on either glass with pitch, and this by means of a 
peg turned round on the brass plate, on which the 
same movement as in the first stage was employed. 
Meanwhile the fine sand, now ground to polishing 
dust, must be spread on the plate by means of a 
brush, and water from the tin can near spurted out 
of the mouth on to the plate. After the two sides 
were so prepared the third stage was proceeded 
to; the brass plate was made hot, a drilled hole on 
the wrong side smeared with cement, covered on 
the right side with so-called caput mortuum (oxyd 
of iron), water being still sprinkled continually on 
it, and the glass thus polished. The glass hav- 
ing passed through the three stages of cutting, 
smoothing and polishing, so that neither crack nor 
flaw was discoverable, was perfect. 

Spinoza soon mastered the mechanical difficulties, 
and the first glass that he perfected without ex- 
traneous aid from its roughest state to the satisfac- 
tion of the master made his eyes light up with 
pleasure. The sight of the perfected work was a 


double gratification, gratification that tke raw ma- 
terial was perfected to its end, and gratification to 
the mind of the workman that the raw material 
bore the impress of his will. 

He understood the mathematical calculation of 
the glasses and their combination sooner than the 
master had expected. The books must have con- 
tained something more than mere nonsense. 

While Spinoza chipped glasses for the short and 
weak-sighted, to bring the distant near, and the 
near nearer, he worked out in his mind the finest 
optical problems to clear and strengthen the mind's 
eyes of his contemporaries and successors. He was 
glad that the continual whirring allowed but short 
intervals of intercourse with his comrades; he could 
-thus follow his own thoughts undisturbed. 

There was one merry fellow in the workshop, 
with finely cut, handsome features, and rough, curly 
brown hair; he always sang and laughed as he 
pushed the door open, for he went on crutches, 
having club feet. While he placed his crutches 
near, and, rolling his shirt-sleeves up, put his lathe 
in order — he worked it in a way of his own with 
his knees — he regularly treated his fellow-workmen 
to a speech. Once he said: "Am I not better off 
than King Nebuchadnezzar? He, I believe, had 
earthen feet, and could never have stumbled over 
our bad pavements. I have pulled the arms out of 
a tree and made myself feet thereof; the next time 


an eagle flies between my legs I will pull his wings 
out and sew them on me. I have a right to ask 
wings from our Lord God. Why has he given me 
feet I cannot use ? Brethren, it would be all up 
then; you might keep St. Monday five days in the 
week; you would want no more telescopes. Does 
any learned gentleman want to know what a star 
looks like ? Here I am, Mr. Peter Blyning, at your 
service; for a good tip I will fly up and spy it all 
out for you. Perhaps I might stay up there and 
come down no more. If a pretty moon maiden 
would marry me I should be quite willing; down 
here I must die a bachelor." 

A peal of laughter always followed his words, 
and he took every opportunity of treating them to 
his oratory. 

"After all, as things are, we are all crutch makers; 
what our Lord and God has bungled over we have 
to set to rights. If he had stuck better eyes in the 
folks we need have no telescopes and no spectacles. 
May God forgive me ! but I am often right down 
angry with him. What have I done to him that 
he should send me into the world half made ? If 
he does not give me better feet up there he may 
keep his eternal life to himself. I'll none of it." 

They all stared at him with blank faces when he 
spoke like this. Spinoza alone tried to show him 
that physical pains and imperfections are not real 
evils; and that it is a man's highest vocation to lead 


well the life God has allotted to him, and not to 
pine for powers denied to us by nature, for in so 
doing we shall never attain to true peace of mind. 

"Yes, you have spoken well," said Peter, and his 
voice had a melancholy tremble in its tones; "you 
have spoken well, but do I demand more than be- 
longs to me by right as a man ? Look here; if but 
for once in my life I could dance I swear I should 
be ready to go to my grave in peace. When I hear 
dance-music, nay, even now, this moment, when I 
only think of it, I think I could jump out of my 
skin with rage; I could tear my eyes out; and 
shame on me ! but I have drunk myself often 
enough blind drunk, because I was afraid the 
people all the while might see me crying." 

Spinoza strove to soothe Peter; he won his good 
will, so that he was occasionally shown how to 
handle his work by him; but our philosopher, in 
the midst of his discourse, was often aware how 
infinitely difficult it is to descend from the heights 
of ideal generalities to daily needs and the ques- 
tions of ordinary men. 

The rumor spread through the workshop that 
Spinoza was a great scholar. His companions were 
proud of their apprentice, and boasted of him in 
the ale-house; but in their behavior to Spinoza 
himself they gave him plainly to understand that 
he was only a Jew, and took certain airs of supe- 
rior birth and familiar condescension with regard to 



him. Conquering all sensitiveness, Spinoza only- 
noticed the latter, and his gentle yet self-possessed 
manner turned off all rudeness; his companions 
soon acquired a certain half unwilling respect for 
Spinoza. A short, impressive sentence spoken by 
him often worked long in the minds of those who 
heard it. Master Huyghens, and his wife too, soon 
became fond of the modest, quiet young man. 
These were not shepherds and fishermen, not men 
of simple life in continual intercourse with eternal 
nature, with whom he could live like the wise of 
old, enriching and widening his own intelligence. 
It was a world whose activity lay far from aborigi- 
nal simplicity; whose inhabitants spent their days 
in every imaginable noise; on whose minds even on 
holidays it was difficult to impress a word. But by 
the rushing brook or the whirring wheel the souls 
of men are as alike as the winds that carry the 
different waves of sound, and the priesthood that 
serves the eternal laws must be perpetually renewed. 
As in nature each plant shoots upward, it lives for 
itself alone, and yet to the minds of men it seems 
to open and close with the greatest uniformity; so 
the activity of mankind is divided into different 
callings, each man being devoted to one in partic- 
ular, and striving to fulfil it; but to the thinking 
mind all are united in the working of one great 
machine. Spinoza felt especially glad to stand in 
the ranks of those who earn their daily bread by 


the labor of their hands. For all thus engaged 
quietly fulfil the requirements of the law of their 
nature. Work is the attribute of man; he fulfils the 
law in employing himself of his own free will; and 
it is a great and glorious chorus that comprises all 
the teaching and writing, the hammering and dig- 
ging, the drilling and boiling in the individual 
workshops of the universe, and what results there- 
from. The quiet life of nature is mere existence; 
intelligence is thought; work is existence and 
thought united. 

Spinoza was sociable, gay and contented. 

Not so Olympia when he described his new way 
of life to her. 

"I am glad we agree in one thing,*' she said; 
" that to spend the livelong day in brooding over 
the thought of others is either too much or too 
little work; so much so that it becomes tiresome to 
me, and I am glad to count * my stitches again. 
When I am sewing my best thoughts come. Do 
you see that garland of roses ? Legends as foolish 
and extravagant as those of the Gesta Romanorum 
are imprisoned in those stitches. Ah ! how glad I 
was then that I knew some handicraft." 

" But I do not work merely to do something with 
my hands, but to give my teeth something to chew." 

" I have noticed for a long time," replied Olym- 
pia, " that reading Tacitus has made you quite 



" I was not aware of it, but I am in sober earnest, 
that, for the future, I must earn my own liveli- 

" What did you acquire so much learning for 
then ? Not for mere vanity, I hope ? My father 
will enlarge his Institute, and you shall be a head- 
master in it; will you not be my colleague ?" 

'* I am sorry to say, No. You may call it ego- 
tism, but my first duties are to myself, and I must 
first be clear of these; then, if I can teach anything 
that would be of service to mankind I will think of 
it; but neither now, nor ever, will I sell the smallest 
of my convictions for material good." 

" You always appear like a Z>eus ex machinal' 
said Olympia to Oldenburg, as he entered. " Do 
you know that your god-child is preparing to be a 
master-craftsman ?" 

"An apostle to all lands, rather, you would say," 
replied Oldenburg." 

" If it were only some pursuit," continued 
Olympia, " such as the learned men and statesmen 
of old times followed, like agriculture, I should not 
have minded so much; there was something great 
in making extremes meet, and doing with the most 
cultivated minds the work of the rudest aborigi- 
nes; even fishing and carpentering have some- 
thing poetical in them ; but to polish glass in 
an obscure room cramps and stupefies body and 
soul. It sets my teeth on edge to think of glass 



polishing. The hand of a philosopher turning the 
wheel of a machine, and employed in stupid manu- 
facture; it is too repulsive a thought /" 

"Do not abuse handicraft," replied Spinoza 
earnestly, " it is a privilege of humanity. The 
beasts have only their instinctive faculties of work, 
to build their nests, obtain their nourishment, to 
attack and to defend. Mankind has made the exter- 
nal productions of nature his limbs. If he wants the 
flight of birds, the speed of deer, arrow and ball 
will overtake either. His hands can with, difficulty 
dig up the earth; he melts iron and points it as 
hatchet or plough, yokes the strength of beasts to 
it, and carves and shapes both wood and stone. 
The peaceful crafts of shaping and building are the 
noblest inheritance of mankind, are sacred tradi- 
tions. Whoever leaves an improved tool to pos- 
terity gives a helping hand, and here a thousand 
immortal minds work on in obscurity. If I could 
in thought or deed invent something that would 
serve men after me in the enlightenment and beauti- 
fying of life, I should be happy; but never must 
we forget that all that is so handed down is but a 
tool for our own formation." 

" That is all very fine and witty," said Olympia, 
womanlike seizing one thought out of the whole to 
reply to; "every one can think that, without being 
an artisan himself. Why should you work with 
sacred axes, sacred hatchets, and sacred files ?'* 



"Because, to answer in your own way, I am 
cumbered with a sacred body, that requires food; 
and with the handicraft I have chosen I will de- 
monstrate the whole theory of dialectics to you : 
Two concave glasses laid on one another show the 
object at which you look through them upside 
down, the reflecting glass between brings it again 
into its right position." 

"When were you born?" interrupted Oldenburg. 

"A strange question. Sir Godfather," replied 
Spinoza, " if you do not yet know, in November of 
the year 1632." 

"That is excellent," continued Oldenburg; "did 
you never hear of the Görlitz Apostle who raved 
in perpetual apostolic ecstasies ? On November, 
'24, he departed this life. He was by trade an hon- 
orable shoemaker, and I will show you from the 
Apocalypse that, seven years after his death, a new 
philosopher must be born, also a handicraftsman." 

" Your comparison limps," said Olympia, " for 
your Jacob Böhme was a shoemaker, and became 
a philosopher, while our Maledict, from a philoso- 
pher became a handicraftsman." 

" Excuse me," said Spinoza; " the jest does not 
limp, but has a leg too many, for there are eight 
years between 24 and 32." 

"That does not matter," answered Oldenburg, 
" if you amputate a year. But in truth and earnest, 
you offend your friends by the aim to which you 


are devoting your life; the case is so clear to me 
that I can not only speak before our friend, but 
before every one. Have you not declared to me 
yourself that among friends everything is. in com- 
mon ? Are we so ethereal that we can only ex- 
change words and feelings, and not clinking gold ?" 

'^ I know your generous heart, and you know I 
thereby thank you," replied Spinoza; " but I have 
already told you that I will never receive a gift 
from a friend, as long as I can work for my living 
with my hands." 

Spinoza was not to be dissuaded from diligently 
following his trade. 



**TTOW do you like Kerkering?" inquired Olympia 
1 1 one day when he did not come to the lesson. 

"As you do," retorted Spinoza. 

"You build too much on our habit of taking the 
words out of each other's mouths," answered Olym- 
pia. " What fault do you find with him ?" 

Spinoza flushed red at having to answer this, 
partly because he had silently extended similar 
blame to Olympia, partly because he feared 
Olympia might misconstrue his words as jealousy. 
These contradictory thoughts flashed through his 
mind in a second, and after a short pause Olympia 
continued : 

"Kerkering is thoroughly good-hearted; his lo- 
quacity is the national failing of the Hanseatic 
towns of Germany." 

"Now I see," replied Spinoza, " that the Jews 
are not alone in having the fate to be judged in a 
body by the first and best individual that chance 
throws in the way. But consider the self-possession 
and calm judgment of ethical subjects that charac- 
terize our friend Oldenburg. Why not take him 
as a type of the Hanseatic townsmen ?" 


"You are right," replied Olympia; "but you 
make such progress with me that I shall never allow 
myself to judge in future. I am too easily influenced 
by surrounding circumstances, and you compre- 
hend the general view so acutely." 

" Do not call it masculine vanity," responded 
Spinoza; "but you confirm what I have observed 
with my sisters and their friends; women seldom 
seem to feel pleasure in mere rectitude; they do 
not judge of the deed but the doer, and of him 
with either partiality or prejudice." 

" Agreed. Well, we are not in the world to phi- 
losophize. You agree with me there; you too do 
not like this jingling prattle, with its cut and dried 
ready-coined thoughts; if these pennies are always 
in circulation they become worn out, lose all fresh- 
ness in the impression, and retain only nominal 
value. So it is with Kerkering, he is wanting in 
true inner worth." 

" He has his compensations," said Spinoza, "he 
has all the more jingle." 

Olympia seemed to have no inclination to pursue 
this turn of the conversation, for she continued 
with her eyes sparkling strangely: 

" Our friend Oldenburg always wants me to try 
mv hand at poetry like my namesake Olympia 
Morata; but I must confess that I pity poets almost 
as much as I respect them, because they both can 
and must lay bare their deepest feelings to the eyes 


of the whole world. It seems to me that if I were 
to express to the world my inner life, what con- 
stitutes the core of my being, I should no longer 
be my own; the world would have me, I should re- 
main but a shadow of what I had resigned, and 
must suddenly vanish away. So I prefer the 
ancient philosophers' way, who never made their 
own minds the subject of discussion; they had an 
esoteric doctrine expressed only in symbols, never 
in words." 

"With the idea with which you started," said 
Spinoza, " I am in perfect harmony. If I were a 
theologian I might make an allegory of it: how 
the high-priest of the temple of Jerusalem, on peril 
of his life, entered the Holy of Holies but once a 
year, declaring the unutterable name of Jehovah 
therefrom, while all the people without fell on their 
faces. By a little ' pious fraud ' we might easily 
substitute the idea which you have otherwise ex- 
pressed; but I am not fond of such interpretations, 
they are usually self-deception or worse." 

" Do not take the thing so barbarously literally; 
that is a glorious interpretation; but once, when 
the divine unites itself with the human, the Holy of 
Holies of the temple of the heart may be opened, 
and the unutterable incorporate itself in words. 
Why, it would be a good symbol, too, for many 
situations in life; in daily intercourse those who 
are near and dear to each other keep their isolated 


niches, which then would open, and would forebode 
what lies so deep in the heart and cannot be ex- 

" Forebodings, even between the most confiden- 
tial, are often illusions," 

" No, not in this case, indeed not. Ah ! it is so 
heavenly to feel, dispensing with words, yet with 
undoubting confidence, that the very depths of ou< 
souls, which no eye can penetrate, are in friendly 
communication with another's. What can be better 
than, in the thousand varying circumstances of life, 
to look into other eyes and know that there every 
feeling exists with equal power, and in unchange- 
able harmony with your own?" 

With what deep unutterable yearning Olympia 
gazed at Spinoza; a rich color flushed her cheeks, 
her lips trembled with excitement, her whole at- 
titude was one of abandonment. 

Spinoza regarded her with unmoved countenance. 
Could a man of such fine feeling, sensitive to the 
slightest influences of thought and imagination, 
could he not see that here was a soul yearning for 
conscious communion with his ? Had he no feel- 
ing for her ? Or did he by force of will repress an 
inclination that could only bring trouble to both 
himself and Olympia? 

"The unutterable of which you speak," said 
Spinoza after a painful pause, " I see more clearly 
day by day must rem/ain such with our thoughts 



of God and nature; we are never more than half 
understood, or are misunderstood." 

Clearly he had comprehended Olympia, and 
wished to turn her thoughts into another channel. 

" I shall not be able to come here to-morrow," 
continued Spinoza; "my sister is to be married to 
young Casseres. May she be truly happy ! She 
understands me best; we often converse together 
half the night through." 

This digression had not the desired effect. 

"You are more fortunate than I," replied Olym- 
pia. " I am so lonely. I never knew my mother. 
You cannot imagine what it is for a girl never to 
have known her mother. I have often thought how 
very different I should have been if I had not 
grown up among men, and been educated almost 
entirely by my father. That dreadful war robbed 
me of my only brother; my cousin Cecilia, who has 
stayed here during my father's absence, was his 
betrothed. Ah ! you would have been a dear friend 
to Cornelius, perhaps more so than to me." 

''Certainly not that — but it is odd you should 
both have such heathenish names." 

Did Olympia not agree to this, or did she really not 
hear him ? Anyhow she continued in the same tone: 

"I have often thought that, if one of us must 
die, would it not have been better if I had died ? 
Cornelius could have been of use to and enjoyed 
the world; buv I — what should I live for?" 


" To feel joy in yourself, to illuminate and charm 
with your intellect and graceful presence," an- 
swered Spinoza, inwardly blaming himself, think- 
ing he had committed a fault in speaking thus. 

" You jest," Olympia answered bitterly. " Once, 
I confess, I was vain enough to think so, but I have 
learned to see that nature should have sent me 
into the world under another mask, and at another 

"Pray, do not belie yourself," interrupted Spi- 
noza. " I am sure you think better of the world 
and of yourself. I dare not praise you, you say 
so often I have no eye for beauty." 

Cecilia entered the room at this point, and re- 
lieved them both from a painful conversation. 
Spinoza soon after took his departure. He went 
home with a peaceful sense of self -conquest, for he 
thought that he had suppressed, with masculine 
power, the first buds of Olympia's inclination for 
him. A certain secret triumph he could not repress, 
that he should without solicitation be beloved by 
such a woman as Olympia. 

Olympia was out of temper the whole evening, 
and as she lay on her bed she bedewed the pillows 
with bitter tears. 

" Has it gone so far with thee," she said to her- 
self, " that thou throwest thyself on any one's neck, 
and he stands with straightened arms!" 

She sighed deeply, and Cecilia often inquired 



what was the matter with her; she gave no answer, 
and pretended to be no longer awake, but in fact 
could find no rest. 

" He is a heartless, selfish man, with a frosty in- 
tellect !" 

No, she could not say that, she could not think 
so of him. His youthful modesty, his invincible 
truthfulness, and above all, the unmistakable signs 
of good will and love for humanity in his counte- 
nance, the tender smile of his loving mouth, and 
the glowing depths of his dark eyes! No, she could 
not make him a caricature. 

Singing and carolling she arose next morning, 
and as she stood before the glass her looks said: 

" No, it has not come to that yet, and were he a 
god, and thought himself raised above all human 
woes, my honor and self-respect require that he 
should kneel to me; and then, having won him, I 
will see how to begin." 

With gay self-satisfaction she continued her toi- 

Not with suchgayety did Miriam de Spinoza don 
her wedding garments, for religious custom had 
here ordained a strange and harsh contrast. Be- 
neath the glistening bridal robes the bride must 
wear the sheet in which she will one day be laid 
in the bosom of the earth, her winding-sheet; the 
lovely ringlets of Miriam from this day forward 
would be hidden beneath the cap and veil; the long 


prayer of the Day of Atonement with its list of sins 
niust be repeated; neither meat nor drink must pass 
her lips till, beneath the wedding canopy, her bride- 
groom pass her the love-draught in the wedding- 
goblet, allowing her to drink thereof, then shatter- 
ing the glass against the wall. 

The family feast — since his banishment among all 
nations the only one of joy remaining to the Jew — • 
aroused to the full his inwardly fostered yearnings. 
The agitation which the wedding preliminaries and 
the wedding itself caused in all hearts was now 
dissipated in unchecked gayety. The married pair 
pressed each other's hands and told each other that, 
in. view of the newly consummated union, all so 
long suppressed would receive new life. Youths and 
maidens looked glowingly at one another; the one 
became quieter, the other more openly animated 
to hide their emotions. . A tearful thrill was in 
every voice of the assembly, and yet it sounded as 
harmony to each, and as they looked from one to 
the other each read joy in the other's countenance. 
At tableau rejoiced in the affectionate meeting and 
suitable union, all expressed their joy, and drank 
to each other's health, and in this expression of their 
rejoicing it grew yet greater. All praised the bride 
and bridegroom, their beauty, their good-hearted- 
ness, their future happiness, and found a reflection 
of all these in themselves. 

Baruch, in the midst of this com.munity of feel- 




ing and rejoicing, was but the more sad and lonely. 
Was it because he could not help thinking of Olym- 
pia that he felt a stranger, or because he was so 
far removed from the present company in point of 
thought ? 

The meal was over, the cigars puffed cheerily, the 
company grouped themselves according to their 
liking, and the hum of voices became still more 
animated as it was heightened by an occasional 

Baruch remained seated at the table; his face was 
flushed, for he had imbibed no less than the others 
of the " sweet fire." He dreamily gazed into the 
bottom of his glass. 

Chisdai, who had come to Miriam's wedding feast 
to conceal the fact of his former wooing, approached 
Baruch with Ephraim Cardoso. " Wine that re- 
joices the heart of man" (Ps. civ. 15) he recited, 
waving his glass with jovial emphasis. 

" That is probably the reason why the Talmudists 
wished men to have no vivifying wine," replied 
Baruch, "but wgakened it by the admixture of 
water." Baruch addressed the words to his glass, 
but Chisdai must have overheard them. 

"Yes," said Ephraim, as he drank to Baruch, 
"our forefathers knew how to live. Does not the 
Talmud say, ' The Spirit of God only rests on man 
in gladsomeness ' ? I was once by when the late 
Professor Barläus said to Rabbi Manasseh Ben Is- 


rael, ' Only the Greeks, not even the Romans, un- 
derstood how really to enjoy life; the Jews were 
always too much engrossed in fathoming what God 
was, what he was like, and how he should be served. 
That they had been fairly successful in, but mean- 
while all enjoyment of earthly life had gone to 
the ground.' He should come here now and see 
whether we cannot be jovial good fellows in the 
fear of God." 

"Well met, Ephraim," said Baruch, and drank to 
him kindly. 

"And even if what Christ said was true," said 
Chisdai, as he struck the table, "we could give up 
all pleasures, ay, even life itself, for the truth that 
we alone possess, the revelation of the real nature of 
God. We alone are free from error and deception." 

" Ho, ho!" laughed Baruch, " you take too much 
in your mouth. Do you not know that in the 
tractate Sabbath" (and he added, according to cus- 
tom of the Scribes, page 32) " it tells of the Tal- 
mudist Rabbi Samuel, who would never go over a 
bridge unless accompanied by soQie one of another 
faith, because Satan could not prevail against two 
religions ?" 

Chisdai stroked his young beard and inquired: 

"You are now studying the Greeks and Romans; 
tell me, do you not find all, and much more than 
all, in Judaism that the learning of other nations 
can show ?" 


** Look at the thing aright," answered Baruch; 
"there is as much and as little of mere truth in 
the Bible as in other books. Look at it impartially 
and not with Jewish prejudice. Is not the human 
soul sometimes spoken of as contained in blood, 
sometimes in breath ? Ay, and moreover, is God 
an immaterial being in all passages of the Bible ? 
I know the Bible is said to tell people the literal 
truth; but consider: God is represented as filling 
space, for he appears on Mount Sinai in clouds and 
fire; in the vision of Moses his foot was of white 
sapphire. And that is the highest ideal of God ! 
There are sublime and pure ideas of God to be 
found in the Bible; but how he is in and about 
things, how he creates and maintains, that seems to 
me to be taken for granted, never proved. And 
even that on which we lay most stress — the con- 
ception of him as the one only Godhead — is not 
sufficing, and can only be used figuratively, because 
we cannot form any idea of or expression for the 
omnipresence of God." 

Chisdai clenched his fists under the table. "And 
the prophets," he asked, " have they all known 
nothing aright ?" 

" The prophets," answered Spinoza, " were great 
and upright men, endowed with a spirit that strove 
to comprehend the infinite whole; men to whose 
hearts not only the fate of Israel but that of the 
whole world lay near. As Isaiah says (xvi. 9), 


'Therefore I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer/ 
but beyond that they were men as we are, ay, in 
many things more ignorant than we are, for in 
many cases they did not know the first principles 
of the laws of nature. If the Spirit of God spoke 
directly by them how could they remain ignorant 
of such simple things ?" 

He spoke yet further on these subjects, and in 
the details he adduced he became yet sharper and 
more decided. Chisdai remained quiet and cold, 
but ground his teeth. When he had heard enough 
he went away with Ephraim without saying a word. 

Spinoza remained at the table alone; he would 
not rise; all seemed so uncongenial and repulsive 
to him. He had just drunk off a glass of wine to 
distract his thoughts when his sister Miriam ap- 
proached him. 

" What have you done ?" she said. " That spite- 
ful Chisdai is breathing fire and fury against you. 
I was standing by Chaje in the kitchen, and re- 
minding her how she once dreamed of my wed- 
ding, when I heard Chisdai cry, ' Cursed be the air 
breathed by this shameless one ! You have heard, 
Ephraim, how Baruch has slandered God and the 
prophets. Oh, that no hand will stretch from 
heaven to tear his lying tongue from his jaws ! 
But I will not lay my head down to rest until he is 
swept from the earth.' Ephraim tried to pacify 
him. * It is well you were by,' continued Chisdai. 


* One witness is not evidence; you must go with 
me before the Sanhedrim; we will accuse him; he 
must be laid under the great ban; I will yet set my 
foot on his neck.* Ephraim said he would not 
witness against you — he had heard nothing. 'So 
you will not ! ' cried Chisdai, and seized him by the 
arm; * then you must swear you heard nothing, 
and if you do you may go to the devil with him.' 
I heard it all, for they did not notice me. But, 
dear brother, you bring the most fearful misfor- 
tunes on us. I would rather die now, on my wed- 
ding day, than live through this." 

Spinoza pacified his sister, but he could not pac- 
ify himself. 

" How great you thought yourself yesterday," he 
said to himself, "when you told Olympia that our 
conceptions of highest things should remain un- 
expressed in the soul. Now you have proved your- 
self." The whole day he remained sunk in grief. 

Chisdai's efforts had not the wished-for result. 
Every one had regard for Benjamin Spinoza and 
his influential connections; and there were only 
words not deeds adduced against Baruch. Chisdai 
was obliged to defer his undertaking to a more 
favorable opportunity; he could easily wait that 
length of time, for soon after Miriam's wedding 
Baruch's father again lay dangerously ill. No one 
would inform the sick man of the rumor that at- 
tached to his son. ^<^<^ T^Tn^^^ 




OLYMPIA from day to day revealed the wealth 
of her intellectual and spiritual life more 
freely to Spinoza, and he felt himself most agreea- 
bly excited by the vivacity and elasticity of her 
mental powers. She had not only that rare qual- 
ity in a woman — the desire for unvarnished truth 
in the correction of her modes of thought, but 
that of accepting unreservedly and freely these 
demands against herself. She had, moreover, a 
sort of hospitable motherliness which took charge 
with friendly alacrity of all that was brought to 
her, even of what she did not know what to do 
with. Thus it happened that she perpetually at- 
tracted fresh offerings, and many things that the 
bringer had wholly forgotten she brought forward 
on some later occasion to his astonishment, and 
occasioned a double feeling of pleasure to the 
original possessor — pleasure in the unforeseen pos- 
session and in its faithful guardian. Thus Spinoza's 
thoughts easily took reference to Olympia, and he 
was more communicative to her than to his friends. 
Was not such devotion love ? 

Spinoza knew himself to be free from all desire 

Pantheism, 26g 

to possess Olympia; he found so much to blame in 
her, and can love find anything to blame in the 
object of its regard ? He rightly disapproved, 
however, of Olympia's referring so often with 
indestructible naivete to the wealth and lux- 
ury of her earlier experiences; if a new life had 
begun for her with his appearance, what was this 
resurrection of the dead for ? Ought not the past 
to disappear without leaving a trace behind in 
view of present happiness ? Olympia, strange to 
say, thought to strengthen her partially weakened 
natural power by her traditional power, but Spi- 
noza's disapproval thereof ought to have served as 
a proof that he was not perfectly free from the 
desire for possession, since he certainly desired 
monopoly of rule. One day Spinoza and Olden- 
burg were with Olympia. 

^" Heaven is not favorable to us to-day," said 
Oldenburg, " for it makes such a tearful face at 
us that we must renounce all idea of spending a 
pleasant day at your hospitable Buiten (country 

" Heaven, that is a fine invention !" retorted 
Olympia jestingly; *' that weather prophet (pointing 
to a barometer) is the thing now. Heaven can no 
longer do as it likes, Torricelli has shown himself 
its master. Is it not perfect despair to think that 
we have now neither Heaven nor Hell ? Copernicus 
and Galileo, more fortunate than the Titans, have 


stormed Heaven. The stars nearest to us are dark 
bodies like the earth, and the earth far off is as 
bright as the twinkling stars; our star-decked 
carpet is gone; where now can we place the throne 
of God ? . Hell, too, we have no more. There, we 
used to think, below, far below, roasted and stewed 
the godless, till Columbus steered ever westward, 
and now we know that people live there too just 
as we live. What shall we do now with our pious 
and godless ones ?" 

"Jufrow Olympia," answered Spinoza, "did you 
not perfectly agree with me last Friday when I ex- 
plained to you that the external appearances of 
things had justly fallen away that*men might hold 
fast to the ideal of them ? Every elevation of mind 
by which a man rises above his personal harmony 
and chimes in with the universal harmony — the 
existence of God you may call it, if you are so fond 
of the term — is, to my ideas. Heaven and its felicity; 
that state of forcible separation from self, no hold 
in self, and no external support in opposition 
to the laws of natural destiny, shaken by the 
slightest impulse, without consciousness of unity 
with the whole — can there be a more frightful 
hell ?" 

"Granted," replied Olympia, "but I prefer my 
earlier ideas." 

"That I believe," said Oldenburg; "but you 
cannot throw such metaphysical ideas at any 



one's head; that is not friend Spinoza's fault, how^ 

Oldenburg had not intended his words to contain 
any double meaning, but they gave that impression. 
Olympia blushed, and a pause ensued; but, though 
embarrassed, she quickly tried to resume the thread 
of their discussion. 

"You can hardly believe," she began, "how in- 
expressibly miserable I was, when, as a child of 
ten years old — you must not find out how long ago 
that is — I realized that there was no sky, and that 
the earth turned round in infinite space. It seemed 
as if I held my life in my hand, and might at any 
moment let it fall. My father soon set me at rest 
as to the movement of the earth, but I cannot en- 
dure the loss of the heavens yet. It was so beauti- 
ful when it was a firm canopy, and now the blue 
dome is nothing but refraction, the blue of the 
heavens nothing but the blue of the distant moun- 
tains, produced by light on one side, and dark 
bodies in the background on the other. Oh, our 
beautiful blue heavens !" 

Spinoza thought of his grief at the death of his 
Uncle Immanuel; it was singularly fascinating to 
feel that Olympia had gone through the same 
struggle as himself. Oldenburg took it upon him 
to answer. 

"I condole sincerely with you," he said, "to be 
robbed of the delicious hope of one day hearing 


your silvery voice resound in the chorus of the 
angels, and with wings on your back, glistening 
with rainbow tints, sing Hallelujah and Hosanna all 
day long for entertainment." 

" The ambassadors of Heaven do not use such 
stale compliments as the envoys of the Hanse 
towns," replied Olympia hastily, and, turning to 
Spinoza, continued: "Listen, I can give you an ex- 
ample from very near what a good refuge the old 
Heaven, is. My cousin Cecilia, who has stayed very 
long at mass to-day, was the betrothed of my 
brother Cornelius; now he is dead she is pleased 
to see her charms fade, for her daily prayer is 
that God may be pleased soon to take her to 
her bridegroom in Heaven. On his birthday she 
writes to him regularly, and describes her life of 
the past year, rejoicing that another year of their 
long probation has gone before their eternal uiiion. 
It is often quite weird to me to be with her. I feel 
as if I had a sleep-walker with me who, by some 
unexpected cry, might be startled from her safe 

Cecilia entered dressed in the deep mourning 
which she had never laid aside since the death of 
her lover; from the customary black veil, which 
covered her from head to foot, looked forth a pale, 
refined face on which pain and sorrow were at 
home; the weary eyelids drooped over the blue 
eyes, whose fire was extinguished. The painful 


shock which pervades a company when any one 
enters who has just been spoken of was deepened 
now by the singular apparition of Cecilia; with a 
rose-garland in her hand and that pious endurance 
in her countenance she looked like some beatified 
penitent. Olympia was secretly annoyed that she 
had — for which the two friends had already blamed 
her in their own minds — so publicly revealed the 
secrets of a broken heart. No one could find a 
word with which to resume the conversation; even 
Oldenburg, the sworn foe of all melancholy, could 
not suppress a shudder when he looked at Cecilia. 
She, too, felt that she had caused embarrassment, 
and soon excused herself on the pretext of having 
forgotten a visit. 

'* I often envy Cecilia the peacef ulness of her 
faith," said Olympia. 

" You can acquire it yourself," replied Spinoza. 

" No, I cannot," replied Olympia hastily. " I once 
complained of my unhappiness to my uncle Boni- 
face, who was priest of St. John's here. He advised 
'^ me to read the Bible; I did, but it was of no use. 
He told me perpetually to read it with a believing 
mind, but that is what I was seeking in it; if I had 
it already I should not want the Bible. It seems 
so hard and difficult often, when I think that I can- 
not understand the reason and object of the world." 

"I think Descartes could help you over your 


" Oldenburg, you are a zealous missionary for 
your philosophical warrior," said Spinoza. "Do 
you think Jufrow Olympia would agree with the 
view that soul and body are each self-existent 
beings, who would not follow each other if the 
miraculous intervention of God did not connect 
them, and constrain them to mutual obedience ?" 

" That would be a pair in harness such as Frau 
Gertrui Ufmsand calls unwilling matrimony. I 
hate that like death." 

"Tell me plainly, do you find the doctrine of 
Öfescartes so thoroughly unsatisfactory ?" inquired 

" It is not my business to discover the faults of 

" Then tell us simply your own solution of the 
eternal problem." 

"That is not so easy to do; rules concerning ex- 
ternal facts are much more easily defined than con- 
cerning processes of thought." 

" I have noticed," said Oldenburg, " instead of 
Descartes' cogito ergo S2cm you put sum cogitans. To 
think and to be are inclusive, not exclusive. In that 
case thunder and lightning are one, even though two 
different minds first perceive them one after an- 

Spinoza nodded smilingly, and after considerable 
opposition he explained: "The connection into 
which Descartes has brought his two substances by 




means of a third is only apparent. Two perfectly- 
independent and unconnected substances cannot be 
co-existent, for where the one ceases the other be- 
gins; they exist in proportion, in the exact propor- 
tion to their limitation and negation of each other, 
each one thus neutralizing the absolute independ- 
ence of the other. Nor can two equally perfect 
wholes co-exist together, for either they are totally 
"or partially dissimilar, so that neither is perfect, 
l)ecause each one lacks certain perfections of the 
other, or they are totally similar, in which case they 
are identical. So that these two substances are not 
'held together by a third, but are merely different 
^appearances of one thing; and we can only think 
of one thing as perfect and independent of all 
others, and that is God. Spirit and matter, thought 
and space, are but different manifestations of one 
and the same being." 

"Is there then a God ?" asked Olympia. 

"God alone is; the idea of God as necessarily 
includes the idea of existence as the idea of a 
triangle includes the idea that the three angles are 
equal to two right angles." 

~ " Can we have as clear an idea of God as of a 
triangle ?" 

" If you ask. Can we have as clear an idea of God 
as of a triangle? I answer, 'Yes.' If you ask, Can 
we have as plain an image of him as of a triangle ? 
I answer, * No.' For we cannot represent God to 



ourselves in an image; we can only recognize him 
in thought. He is the infinitude of all qualities 
thought of as a unit; but we recognize him only 
in single manifestations, which we trace back to 
him as the centre; but we cannot comprehend this 
centre as such, nor make any exhaustive representa- 
tion of it. The words one and only one, with which 
we could designate God as the only self-existent 
substance, are always founded on human concep- 
tions. God is an incommensurable quantity, which 
can have no reference to any other, because nothing 
beyond it exists. One and only one, though taken in 
their exclusive sense, still presuppose a reference to 
some other.". 

*' Does God then stand in no relation of com- 
parison with nature and history?" 

" Nothing exists that is not of him and from him; 
all that occurs he does; all that is he is; it is only 
a change of form; the eternal, the infinite is ever the 

"Oh, that is glorious!" cried Olympia; "the pure 
childlike joy of nature, with its hidden, smiling 
deities, such as the ancients had, is here so beauti- 
fully combined with the awe-inspired reverence 
that Jews and Christians observe in the contempla- 
tion of nature. God lives in us, ourselves; from the 
crimson lips of the rose, from the modest eyes of 
the violet, in the melting notes of the nightingale, 
the same spirit speaks that lives in me; they know. 




and see, and hear me as I see them; we are one. 
Yea, I think even the inanimate objects have what 
we call individual life or soul, and cannot under- 
stand. Any unskilful lout can blow a flute, but, as 
we express it, the tones are no longer pure and 
true; and though we notice no difference in the 
material, its Psyche is injured. Only a skilful master 
can again draw out its rightful tones with careful 
handling; and again we notice no alteration in the 
material parts. Ay, and the soul of man can just 
the same be put out of tune, and how it rejoices 
when the right tone is again elicited." 

It Was difficult after this digression, which had a 
certain relative aim, to return to the original com- 
mon train of thought. Oldenburg wished to hold 
fast to his more than ordinarily communicative 
friend, and, in his peculiar manner, he tried first 
to secure his ally, and enable him to proceed at 
the same pace. So he turned to Olympia and 

" Women do not like demonstrations that are not 
pictorial, in which they are often like children. If 
philosophy, however, is to be compared to any art 
it should not be to music, but to the plastic art. 
Yes, you may smile. Ideas are cold and colorless 
as marble. The images of the chisel, like abstract 
thoughts, are not mere portraits of this or that par- 
ticular figure. They rise the higher the more they 
become typical. There the beauty of humanity, 


here true humanity. The philosopher is a sculptor, 
however paradoxical it may sound." 

Olympia, too, was ready to fall in with his humor, 
but she turned, not to Oldenburg, but to Spinoza, 
and said: 

" Many ways lead to Rome, also to the Rome oj 
free thought. Each one works out the given mate- 
rial, according to his custom and requirements. 1 
will prove to you that I understand you. When 
you say we have as clear an idea, but not as cleai 
an image of God as of a triangle, I translate it to 
myself thus: there are no pure notes; each tone 
comprises several different ones as it is struck, 
swells, and dies away. We cannot perceive the 
pure note, it is too fine for us. Even so we can, in 
the thought of God, form only an ideal, not an 

Spinoza said at last, smiling: 

" I would only explain still further, that though 
we feel ourselves one with the infinite, the degrees 
of consciousness of the innate divine power are yet 
infinitely different. Above all we must lay aside 
that pride of humanity that regards everything 
around it as mere means, and itself alone as the 
end and aim; that values everything only in its re- 
lation to itself — the supposed turning-point. Every- 
thing in the world consists of means and end com- 

"I follow the banner of my generalissimo," inter- 


rupted Oldenburg, "and ask, Is iL_liot merely a_ 
refined materialism to which you return ?" 

"Were it rational, it would be justifiable, but I 
come to quite another result. The only and exclu- 
sively enduring substance, which to me remains the 
only conceivable one, is not the rough clod which 
cannot in any case be got rid of. I do not material- 
ize spirit, I spiritualize matter." 

" How do you explain with this eternally identi- 
cal substance the origin of the world ?" 

" The idea of cause and effect is innate in us, 
and recognized by external evidence. If you follow 
up the train of effects and causes you must at last 
come to a first cause; this first cannot be the result 
of any other; it contains the reason of its existence 
in itself; it is cause and effect in its original un- 
createdness; , is God in his revelation as world.. 
The origin of the world is the" origin of God him- 
self; the one is not imaginable without the other. 
Tlie world is the only external manifestation of the 
existing God. If God has the .power in himself to 
create the world he must create it, for in him 
dwells no power that does not immediately pro- 
ceed to its exercise; a latent, useless power would 
be imperfection which we could not ascribe to 
God as the ideal of all perfection. It can neither 
be a casual nor an arbitrary external, nor a similar 
internal motive which sets this power in motion; 
not external, for God, as the epitome of all per- 


fection, must be absolutely independent, and cannot 
be subject to any external influence; it cannot be 
internal either, as a mere exertion of arbitrary will, 
for if God could will this, or will the other, he 
might also will something imperfect, in opposition 
to his nature; he can only will the perfect, and his 
will is deed, so all in him is inevitable necessity. 
God has the world in him, and is in it; God and 
the world are alike eternal. Truly those who have 
thought of God as something above the world, 
floating in empty space (which does not exist), to 
them God was before the world; he created it out 
of nothing, and still hovers over it in Heaven. But 
long ago men were aware that from nothing some- 
thing cannot come, and so must have recourse to 
strange theories of emanation. So the world re- 
mains ever something that God has cut loose from 
himself, which he watches over and with which he 
interferes from time to time; so that, according to 
their theory of things, the miracles are acts by 
which God disturbs the once firmly settled order 
of nature, his own revelation. But miracles were 
done only as long as men believed in them; in our 
time there are no more. Are we therefore forsaken 
of God ? In any case, if this were the true view, 
but it is not, for God is not the external cause, but 
the internal innate cause of the world's existence, 
in him all is an act of free necessity, everything — " 
**Look! look! there is a white raven!" cried 


Olympia, rushing to the window, ana Oldenburg 
stood up to see what she meant by the ill-timed 
jest; Spinoza only sat still and smiled quietly; but 
Olympia could hardly contain herself for laugh- 

"You a statesman !" cried Spinoza, "and not see 
that I was guilty of a mesalliance between royal 
families of ideas ! But sit down again, and I will 
avenge you on the jester, I purposely chose the 
expression. Tell me what is the meaning of ne- 
cessity ?" 

" I was confirmed long ago, and need not be cat- 
echised so strictly; yet — necessity is anything that 
must be." 

" Only half expressed; all that without innate op- 
position to its own nature cannot otherwise than be, 
^hat is necessity. That no slumbering power can 
fee imagined in God I have already proved to you; 
and all that he does, and is, he is and does from 
innate necessity, but freely; for to be free is to be 
moved to act of himself, and from no outward or 
neighboring cause. God, therefore, outside whom 
nothing is, and who continually wills of himself, 
acts continually in perfect freedom; ay, even men 
then are not free (as is usually believed) when they 
act in contradiction to the laws of their nature; for 
there it is always an external impulse they obey, 
not their own nature; they are only truly free when 
they act in accordance with the necessities, or, if 


you prefer it, the laws, of their nature, for then it 
is only themselves whom they obey." 

^' Still another question occurs to me," inter- 
rupted Olympia. " God, who has his laws or his 
necessities in himself, is in all his acts free; but 
men, who have received the cause and laws of their 
actions from God, act according to the universal 
will, and yet are not free ?" 

" The individual inclination is as different from 
the universal will as Peter and Paul are from man- 
kind; they exist and act for themselves in indi- 
vidual freedom, though they fall collectively under 
the idea and laws of humanity, of which they 
cannot pretend to be perfect representatives. Who- 
ever has advanced so far that his individual in- 
clinations are in immediate accord with the uni- 
versal laws of reason, so that he destines himself 
for what God or nature has destined him, he lives 
in God, and is a partaker in the highest felicity, 
but only a partaker. In the individual the com- 
munity cannot be included; it is as impossible as 
the squaring of the circle." 

" But in that way," objected Oldenburg, " if 
everything happened inside the limits and accord- 
ing to the laws of the universal or divine will, the 
evil would be as much of necessity as the good, 
and he who does evil is not accountable for it. All 
therefore must be blessed. And the Scriptures lie 



that say, God punishes the wicked. Evil is thus a 
necessity, and why did God create it ?" 

" When it is called so in the Scriptures, it is be- 
cause they are not written to teach men philosophy, 
but only obedience and righteous living, and there- 
fore accommodate themselves to ordinary ways of 
expression. God, however, did create what we in 
our ordinary conceptions call imperfections, because 
he had the material to create everything with one 
word, from the highest to the lowest degrees of 
perfection; or, to speak more exactly, because the 
laws of his nature are so comprehensive that they 
are sufficient for the creation of all that can only 
be grasped by an infinite intelligence. Men can be 
excused their deeds, and though losing in happi- 
ness on that account, they may be chastened with 
much trouble and sorrow. I answer with Paul," 
continued Spinoza in a stern voice, ' They act ac- 
cording to their nature like serpents, and like ser- 
pents must therefore be destroyed.' He who be- 
comes mad through a dog's bite, is he not excused ? 
And yet men do right to burn him. He who cannot 
restrain his inclinations, or control himself by re- 
gard for the law, is to be excused on account of his 
weakness; but yet he will never rejoice in peace of 
mind, the knowledge and love of God, which is the 
only true good; it is a matter of necessity that he 
goes to ruin." 


" You speak of the love of God," said Olden- 
burg, " of that which we have for him, and of that 
which he bestows upon us. If, as you say, God does 
everything of necessity, he does nothing for love, 
and because he must do everything, if he would 
not resign his own existence, he cannot demand 
our love, and we could not offer it to him." 

" That is a fine objection !" replied Spinoza. 
" Must love be something in opposition to nature, 
or arbitrary, to be accepted as such, or to earn a 
return of love ? Was it not love that your father 
bestowed upon you ? And did you love him less, 
because he must love you according to his innate 
nature? What is commonly called the miracle of 
love arises from that innate, and therefore free, 
determination by that highest necessity which is 
placed in our nature; and that is true love, with 
the indelible stamp of divinity. Each outward act, 
each labor, each work of art is the freer and more 
perfect the less arbitrary will has to do with it, the 
more thorough the innate law has become and lets 
it appear to be a free product of nature. The self- 
knowledge of what each one will, or ought to do, 
that is salvation; therefore love of God is the 
highest salvation, or, as I might call it, the highest 

Olympia followed the two friends but unwill- 
ingly and with difficulty into the icy region of meta- 
physical contemplation, where no flowers bloomed, 


and no birds sang, and all below was enveloped in 
the mists of the universal. She admired and rev- 
erenced Spinoza's intellectual power that could 
bear her up there, and give her a glimpse of the 
infinite, but it was strange to her to be here above 
the clouds, the way to her organ, her well-ordered 
books and gay canary birds lay so far away; so 
she greeted these words of Spinoza's as a message 
from her happy, familiar home life. She was no 
longer afraid of this heaven-storming hero-mind, 
for he who could speak such words as these, he 
must know how to love. Her cheeks glowed, her 
sparkling eyes gazed absently into space, her whole 
soul was deeply moved. The two friends did not 
notice it, for they were discussing the unbroken 
and insoluble connection of the universe. At last 
Spinoza looked at Olympia, and she at him; their 
eyes met. 

" Where were you then ?" asked Spinoza with • 
tender reproach. 

"Oh, everywhere !" answered Olympia as if just 

" But not with us," said Spinoza. He little knew 
how these words wounded Olympia. 

"There I have another plain proof," triumphed 
Oldenburg, " that body and soul are tv/o perfectly 
distinct and independent things. Your soul floated/ 
far away in far distant realms, and wholly forgot' 
that you were simply here with us." 


" If you turn all the events of the moment so 
quickly to your own interest, I congratulate the 
inhabitants of the good town of Bremen on their 

"Never mind," said Spinoza; "he only wants 
to revenge himself for the white crow; he is not in 

"At least I am in earnest in thinking that such 
examples taken from surrounding circumstances 
are the best warnings against vague specula- 

" So-called practical proofs easily take a some- 
what angry or fanatical tone," answered Spinoza, 
laughing. " I only said spirit and body were in- 
separable and dependent on each other in so far 
that they can only be viewed as different manifesta- 
tions of one and the same being; the spirit cannot 
be confined by the body nor the body by the spirit. 
Still no one has discovered what the body is capa- 
ble of without the spirit, or by what means the 
spirit sets the body in motion. Indeed there is a 
considerable class of ideas to which we know in- 
dubitably certain qualities of body are needful. 
Speech and silence even, which we regard as pre- 
rogatives of the mind, and from which man de- 
duces his absolute pre-eminence, prove nothing, for 
in sleep and delirium men speak without any vol- 
untary effort, yet through the mind. Free thought, 
reaching far beyond our mere bodily sphere, always 



finds room without the intervention 01 any inde- 
pendent separation from the body." 

" As for me I will not attempt to oppose your 
theory," said Oldenburg; "this co-ordinance, and 
so to say co-divinity of mind and body, agrees with 
a favorite idea of my own. I always disliked to 
hear the phrase, ' fleshly desires war against the 
spiritual.' This helotry of our body with the godly 
suppression of the devil-nature of our physical 
selves, must if consistent, as with the Hindoos, not 
only excuse suicide, but even represent it as the 
highest moral duty." 

" Paradox, rank paradox !" said Spinoza. "A sui- 
cide under any circumstances is guilty of spiritual 
cowardice, for he lets himself be completely over- 
come by external things that happen to be in op- 
position to his nature. From the lowest stage to 
the higher of the natural order it is the fundamental 
duty of every component part to fulfil its destiny, 
and this in a reasonable manner; that is, as our 
veritable constitution, shown by nature, would do 
by Virtue. This is no egotistical principle, for this 
self-preservation is impossible without the corre- 
sponding preservation of others. What corresponds 
externally with our nature and this effort of self- 
preservation is good, so much the more what lies 
in our nature itself is good; naturally we must 
herewith keep firmly before our eyes that only the 
true knowledge of God and our own nature is the 


essential good, and that we must direct the aim of 
our lives to this. Good and evil, viewed on their 
own merits, are not positive qualities (which is also, 
to a certain extent, the watchword of your General); 
they are only differing forms of thought or concep- 
tion which arise because we compare things to one 
another. Your favorite occupation, for example, 
Jufrow Olympia, music, is good to the melan- 
choly, bad to the sad, and to the deaf is neither 
good nor bad." Olympia would have objected, but 
Spinoza continued with animation: 

" We would have it for the ideal of mankind 
that we should consider the expression Good as 
answering to all of which we certainly know that 
it is approximate to the original model of human 
nature, and Evilj of which we certainly know that it 
is in opposition to it. No man, thief, murderer or 
debauchee, no man desires evil for evil's sake; but, 
in the moment in which he commits the crime, it 
seems good to him for his self-preservation, for the 
increase and improvement of his own well-being, 
and is only erroneous in this, that in following his 
passions he becomes unfaithful to the laws of his 
nature. The freeman, that is one who, coming 
straight from the hands of God or nature, knows 
naught of the ideas of good or evil, acts in every 
circumstance according to the immediate impulse 
of the laws of his nature; then, when the dissension 
between his wishes and requirements, and the com- 



mands of his nature first enters, and when he wishes 
to avoid this by the intervention of others, the 
knowledge of good and evil, and evil itself, enters. 
The dissension occurs because he wishes to control 
himself by another and an external means, and no 
longer acts in free accord with his internal laws; the 
discord lies in the fact that, for the fulfilment of 
his natural laws he requires an agreement with 
outward circumstances. The free, independent 
human being, such as the earliest one, knows no 
difference of good and evil; he acts ever in accord- 
ance with internal harmony and freedom. With 
society entered dissension, sin and history. It 
must ever remain our highest object again to in- 
corporate this freedom and independence, without 
disturbing the existing constitution of society . On 
the contrary, not in solitude, but in communities, 
where we live in mutual conformity, we are free. 
We must mentally return to that standpoint of in- 
nate freedom where it was given us to know and 
follow of necessity the laws of God, that is, of our 
nature. Such was the pure object of Jesus Christ, 
to lead mankind back to the original freedom of 
their laws, in natural harmony with them. There- 
fore was he come, according to his own words, not 
to destroy the law, but to fulfil it." 

Spinoza had carefully avoided all details that 
could give occasion for a digression; but Olympia, 


who had again obliged herself to follow the dis- 
cussion, now asked: 

" Can we not demand from your ideas that they 
should heal the ills of the world, and make the sick 
and sorrowful whole and joyful !" 

'■'' I do not understand what you mean." 

" I ask how, in your view of the creation, do you 
explain physical ill ? That is, something actual ? 
You have told us of the merry glass-polisher, Peter 
Blyning. How was the good man in fault that he 
should be doomed to shuffle along club-footed ?" 

" You confuse your questions so one with another 
that I must take the liberty of separating them. 
What consolation has the usual view of things for 
Peter Blyning ? such as, ' Whom God loveth he 
chasteneth,' or 'We are here but candidates for a 
higher career.' The question still remains, Why 
should his candidature be made so difficult ? Above, 
all will be set right for him, they say; but if he is to 
have two feet up there, he has not them here, and 
has much pain for want of them. The easiest way 
of shuffling off this question is to say, * The ways 
of God are unfathomable;' that is, in other words, 
to let the question remain a question. But the so- 
lution of this problem lies in quite another direc- 
tion. All ideas of perfection and imperfection, 
beauty and ugliness, like the final causes which we 
ascribe to nature, are not necessarily appropriate, 


but merely ascribed to her by us, for we give things 
relations which they do not possess. All these 
ideas merely arise because we compare things of 
similar form and species, and then discover faults 
and failings where none such exist. Everything is 
perfect, for each thing must be compared with 
itself alone. Error and confusion always arise be- 
cause we prefer to measure things by ideals, that 
is, with universal ideas which we have acquired or 
imagined. The ideal or pure idea of any given 
thing should only be derived from itself, from its 
own nature and attributes. Then the complaint 
ceases, that the world does not realize our expecta- 
tions. Each force exists and appears according to 
its own laws, not according to an ideal. What does 
not follow inevitably from the necessary working 
of the natural cause is no part of the nature of a 
thing, and all that necessarily follows from the na- 
ture of the effecting cause rnust of necessity be. 
Beyond this we cannot and must not demand any- 
thing; there is no rule and no obligation beyond, 
and we can apply no higher measure. Peter Blyn- 
ing is, when viewed on his own merits, as perfect 
as the most perfect Adonis. He can no more de- 
sire other feet than he can demand wings, for the 
fundamental cause of his being merely suffices for 
this form, and for no other. Do you think it an 
imperfection that an ox is an ox and not an eagle ? 
To every stage of human existence it is permitted 


to feel and to find agreement with self and with the 
universe, and to be raised to, and sustained in, se- 
renity by it. Our consciousness of harmony or 
discord with our assigned nature; the belief that 
this consciousness is given us, which man as a mere 
instinct calls conscience — " 

" Conscience is a stocking that fits any foot. The 
savage strikes his father dead when he is old and 
infirm, and thinks it his conscientious duty; the 
Jew's conscience reproaches him when he eats the 
flesh of swine, and the Catholic beats his breast 
when he has neglected mass." 

So spoke old Van den Ende, who then suddenly 
entered. Spinoza quietly replied that no man 
could reason away conscience. That pure con- 
science which merely exists in the feelings, and 
which men have dressed in all manner of external 
shapes, must often be liable to deception; but that 
inner voice which enters our consciousness, which 
tells us so plainly when we have acted in opposi- 
tion to the laws of our nature and the universal 
order, is as undeniable and reliable as our knowl- 
edge of our own existence." 

"Yes, my dear father," said Olympia;"! shall 
always be grateful to Herr von Spinoza for the 
many great ideas which he has imparted to us." 

She then explained to her father the leading ideas 
of what had just been said. Spinoza had now and 
then to add something, but on the whole he saw 



with inexpressible pleasure how completely Olympia 
had entered into the grounds of his views. This 
pleasure did not long remain undisturbed, for the 
laughter of old Van den Ende annoyed him ex- 

" Do you remember the saintly Christopher in 
the asylum at Milan, of whom I told you ?" he said. 
"He would suit you very well; he, too, was of a 
piece with God. Ha, ha, ha ! There is yet some- 
thing excellent left to laugh at." 

Spinoza's whole soul rose against these words. 
Mockery is the deadliest poison to kill the seed of 
life in a growing character or a growing idea. Our 
philosopher, however, was sufficiently strong al- 
ready to blunt and turn off with little trouble all the 
pointed arrows that Van den Ende discharged at 
his speculations. Spinoza felt strangely touched 
when Olympia said to him at parting : 

" I am now quite grateful to the rain for having 
confined us to four walls. I do not think such con- 
nected trains of thought as you have given us 
could arise, or be expressed, in the freedom of 
nature; color, sound and fragrance would protest 
against it, for that we must be alone and at home. 
The wise Greeks did not attain to it because they 
lived and taught in the open air. Come to-morrow 
to our Buiten; Socrates and Plato await you among 
the green bushes." 

Spinoza had not time to explain what a singular 



echo this expression awoke in him, for he recol- 
lected that the Rabbis ordain: ''When two go 
together to speak of the Revelation (the Thora), 
and one says, ' Look how beautiful that field is, 
how beautiful that tree ' — he has committed a 
deadly sin." 

Does the highest thought demand abstraction 
from the outer world ? 

The two friends left the house in silence; Cecilia 
met them just in front of it. 

" You too must say, ' He that is able to receive 
it let him receive it' " (Matt. xix. 12), said Olden- 
burg; Spinoza pressed his hand and they separated. 

After such a discussion he was obliged to go to 
the synagogue. 



"FVE LAGCHLUST" was the inscription over 
JLy the entrance to the Van den Ende's country 
house outside the Utrecht Gate, with its freshly- 
painted doors and window shutters; it was neat and 
modest, and gave evidence, in the laying out of the 
garden, the well-covered espaliers, rich flower-beds 
and shady groves, of the Dutch character, which, 
failing in the beauties of mountainous country, 
found means by higher culture to give their plains 
a quiet beauty of their own. 

We meet our familiar companions here in the 
open air at last, Olympic gods hidden in the 
bushes, and above them all on a soft green lawn 
the bust of Democritus attracted all eyes. 

To-day the garden and house did not seem to 
answer to their name. No desire to laugh was ap- 
parent. A peculiar feeling of depression seemed to 
possess them all. 

Kerkering and Van den Ende walked away to 
a distant path in animated conversation; the two 
friends joined Olympia and Cecilia. Olympia bade 
Spinoza lay his cares aside; his father's illness was 


certainly not serious. He should give himself up 
to the serene enjoyment of nature for the present. 

"Your King Solomon," she continued, "must 
have been very fortunate to understand the speech 
of all birds and beasts; he must have been so much 
at home with nature." 

" Perhaps he was too much at home therein, and 
that is why he said all is vanity," interposed Olden- 

"I do not miss Solomon's skill in my enjoyment 
of nature," said Spinoza. " Nature would annoy 
me if she were eternally chattering to me of all her 
doings, and never left me to myself." 

He had no second thought in saying these words, 
but Oldenburg and Cecilia looked at each other in 
embarrassment as they listened to them, for Olym- 
pia often had somewhat of the lecturing tone com- 
mon to most teachers, who, from the habit of seeing 
pupils stand before them in mute attention, carry 
their explanations and expositions into conversa- 
tion also. 

Olympia, however, had not the faintest idea of 
such an application of this speech. She applied it 
rather to their parting words of the previous day, 

" I cannot bear to enjoy nature alone," she said. 
"When I felt myself carried away into other worlds 
by the enjoyment of pure sight, I Involuntarily 
grasped at my side to press some friendly hand «n 
mute sympathy." 




No one answered; each one looked at the ground. 
Oldenburg had for some time perceived the rela- 
tions arising between Olympia and Spinoza by 
their occasional glances and turns of speech. He 
was diplomatist enough to believe he could employ 
these intercepted secret messages towards founding 
a friendly compromise without an open explana- 

" What do you say," he said, " to Queen Christina 
of Sweden having presented her crown and sceptre 
to her cousin, not, as we at first supposed, to gar- 
land herself merely with the poet's laurel, but to 
deck her brows with the myrtle wreath ?" 

"What !" exclaimed Olympia; "is Queen Chris- 
tina going to be married ?" 

"Commercial advices arrived yesterday from 
Rome, in which it is decidedly affirmed that the 
daughter of Gustavus Adolphus will return to the 
bosom of the one true Church, in order to be able 
to marry her High-Chamberlain Monaldeschi." 

" Indeed Queen Christina has cast off all earthly 
considerations freely and unrestrainedly to partake 
of the blessings of our faith," said Cecilia in a 
gentle voice, and no one contradicted her. 

" If the daughter of Gustavus Adolphus has done 
this," said Olympia after a pause, " that she might 
belong wholly to the man of her choice, the deed is 
above all reproach; love is a bond which ought to 
loosen all earlier ones. How simply and truly it is 




expressed in the Bible where it says, 'For her 
sake leave father and mother.' The question here 
is only whether the obedience of the so-called 
weaker sex goes so far as to make the sacrifice hers 
in this case. Christina of Sweden has certainly 
done enough by her abdication; is it not rather the 
man's duty to take this unpleasant step instead of 
hers ? If he would not do it he would be unworthy 
of, and lost to, her love, and her step would- be 
censurable." , 

" But if such a step were in opposition to his own 
convictions ?" 

Olympia did not answer and looked at the 

Spinoza hesitated whether to join in the conver- 
sation or not, for he had partly penetrated Olden- 
burg's intention. As Olympia, however, here looked 
at him with an entreating and inquiring glance, he 
replied : 

" If Monaldeschi were the cause of her abdica- 
tion, and knew it, he had taken upon himself re- 
^ sponsibilities towards the Queen, and nothing ought 
longer to prevent him from agreeing to her wishes 
in everything; but if insuperable objections existed 
for him, he ought, as a man of honor, to have 
rejected the connection from the beginning, as one 
whose obligations he neither could nor would 
fulfil. I might make a more general application of 
this event. The reformed ministers of this country 


accept the doctrine of Descartes as the best deduc- 
tion from Calvin's. Queen Christina, the most 
zealous follower of this philosopher, who taught 
her himself, can find proofs in it on which to 
ground her conversion to the Catholic Church." 

" The Catholic religion is the mother Church, and 
it is a natural impulse to return to it." 

" Speak out," said Oldenburg to Spinoza. " I 
see by the corners of your mouth you wish to an- 
swer, If the Catholic Church is the mother, the 
Jewish is the grandmother Church, and could just 
as well demand that we should don her vestments. 
But we will take another example. Turenne is so 
pre-eminently a field marshal by nature, he will 
only bear the star of his own faith on his breast, 
standing in the front, and not in the ranks among 
the members of the Catholic Church like a com- 
mon soldier. Is he not right to do so ?" 

Spinoza noticed the digression as Van den Ende, 
who had come into the circle with Kerkering, in- 

** Turenne is a soldier, and soldiers, who hourly 
risk their lives, do not willingly lay aside their 
familiar armor; they think this or that superstition 
has made them shot free; but if once peace were 
made I do not think it would be difficult to make 
Turenne turn Catholic." 

" Were he capable of loving a girl tenderly and 
ardently," added Kerkering, " he would soon join 



the one saving faith of her possession. It would be 
cowardice then, when the greatest was at stake, 
not to be able to conquer a prejudice acquired in 
the nursery. He who truly loves can only believe 
in his beloved one; her heart is his church, her 
words his only revelation, she alone is worthy of 
his reverence, and nothing is above her. That is 
the true regeneration that we/ desire in a maiden's 
love, which makes us inseparably one with her. 
Who can think then of the limitations w^hich men 
place around one another?" 

His companions stared in astonishment at Ker- 
kering's words; only old Van dan Ende nodded ap- 
provingly, and Olympia said after an awkward 

" While we are talking over principles, a poet's 
mistress, sick unto death, is perhaps dying for such 

"Who is that?" inquired Oldenburg. 

"The betrothed of your former friend, the poet- 
ess Maria Tesselschade, will hardly greet to-mor- 
row's dawn. Did you know Caspar Barläus, Herr 
von Spinoza?" 

" No, Jufrow Olympia, but my old master, 
Nigritius, who was once insulted by him, has often 
abused him to me." 

" Seven years since," continued Olympia, " I re- 
member it quite well, it was not long after New 
Year's Day of 1648, they found him in the well 




near the weighing-house quite dead. He had been 
with his betrothed the evening before. The well 
was on the way to his own house." 

" Had he thrown himself in ?" 

Olympia nodded assent; she forbore to assent in 

'* He certainly killed himself," Oldenburg re- 
marked; "but it is incomprehensible to me how he 
could hold fast to Tesselschade for so many long 
years, and at last, when they were both grown old, 
take such a desperate step because he could not 
marry her." 

"Why could he not?" 

"She was Catholic and he was Protestant; in- 
deed, he had formerly suffered much persecution as 
a Remonstrant. His whole thoughts were borrowed 
from the ancient Greek and Roman world, and yet 
he could not make up his mind for love of Tessel- 
schade to change his form of faith." 

" It is ridiculous," added Van den Ende, taking 
up his daughter's words; "he sang all the stories of 
the Old and New Testaments, with all the Greek 
and Roman mythology, and Arcadian pastorals; 
he could not say a word without parading the 
whole Olympus; he translated even his own love 
into the language of Horace." 

" It seems to me, dear father," said Olympia, 
** that BarUuis was obliged to translate all his 
thoughts into Latin in order to understand them 


perfectly. Herr von Spinoza, you must read his 
poems; a soul overflowing with human love is ex- 
pressed in them. He had a Rubric of his own, 
Tessaltca, in which he sang to his mistress as she 
sat her horse, and as she sang to her harp, to her 
ruff and her string of pearls; everything of hers 
inspired him to poetise. In one ode he sang, 

Tessela quae coelo potes deducere lunam, 
Et tetricos cantu demeruisse Deos — * 

Do you understand the pun by which he changed 
the name Tesseischade into Tessela?" 


" In the second Idyl of Theocritus Tessela is an 
infallible love-charm, the name was given to the 
plant from which the philter was prepared, but we 
do not know the plant itself." 

"You will always and forever be my instruc- 
tress," said Spinoza. 

" Will you not, when you have found out how, 
instruct us in magic ?" inquired Kerkering. 

" You are already an enchanted prince," replied 
Olympia. " Herr von Spinoza, do you believe in 

" In yours," he replied hastily. Oldenburg shook 
his head disapprovingly. 

"You have forgotten one main point in the love 

* Tessela, thou canst draw down the moon from Heaven 
with thy songs, and bind the gods of darkness with gratitude. 



Story of Barlaus," he said. '' Do you recollect that, 
in the epistle dedicatory prefixed to his poems, he 
maintains that the three L's are incompatible with 
matrimony, Libri, Liberi and Libei'tas^ as they do 
not co-operate well ? • Poor fellow, he wrote epi- 
thalamiums for all the world, and could not have a 
wedding of his own." 

" He wrote a lovely Carmen on the wedding of 
my Uncle Overbeck, in Hamburg," Kerkering 
threw in. Oldenburg continued: 

"If a truly sublime and thoroughly poetic soul 
had dwelt in Barlaus, and the professor not peeped 
out from every hole and corner in him, the denied 
possession of his Tesselschade and his own pure 
love for her alone might have made him become 
as a fragrant garden of heavenly poetic bloom. If 
Dante had embraced his Beatrice, if Laura had 
cooked bread-soup for Petrarch, never would the 
one have raised himself to be the Homer of the 
Christian cosmography by his immortal canzones, 
and the eternal harmony of Petrarch's sonnets 
would have been drowned in the cries of fretful 
children. Poetry is not the vulture of fable that 
perpetually consumes life; it is the flame from which 
the phoenix springs rejuvenescent, and with unin- 
jured flight soars heavenward. For individual men, 
as well as for struggling humanity, the highest pos- 
session would be disgust and death, or happy deli- 


"What! can this be Herr Oldenburg?" asked 
Olympia in astonishment. 

" That is a very original idea. Then monks and 
nuns, in their self-renunciation, are the chosen 
army of poets." 

" You want to put me in the wrong by a clever 
sophistry," answered Oldenburg, " but I am not so 
stupid. I only affirm that a man of truly great 
mind must not cling with his whole vitality to any 
one arbitrarily idealized person; if he does so he 
has fallen from God to man, and he dies the death 
of a man, for he is coffined between the hard boards 
of every-day regrets and necessities. Ay, even 
could he be free, and find his self-created ideal real- 
ized, he would be obliged to fly from it." 

" I am also of your opinion," said old Van den 
Ende; "the gods could not have more effectually 
punished Pygmalion than when they granted his 
prayer. Such a marriage must be barren." 

"There are no ideals on earth and can be none," 
said Oldenburg in an animated tone; "foolish is he 
who seeks such, and still more foolish is he who be- 
lieves he has found them. They may live in us, 
and hover above us in glorified memories. How 
infinitely great is Dante when he sings his pure, 
refined love !" 

" There was a time when you thought otherwise," 
said Olympia. 

" T think so still. I myself have no claim to the 


highest crown of humanity; as I am live thousands 
of the great multitude; I must surrender myself 
prisoner. But if I see a friend, gifted with an ex- 
alted and commanding mind, letting himself be 
imprisoned within the four walls of commonplace, 
bowing his great mind to serve a self-created idol, 
I would spurn him from me; for he thus becomes 
a traitor to the greatness and majesty of his call- 
ing; but if he can keep that ideal, which has never 
perfectly appeared to his consciousness, pure and 
high, I esteem him happy." 

"A sad martyrdom it is to which you condemn 
the higher minds," said Olympia. 

The shades of night were falling; they separated. 

Spinoza accompanied Olympia home. She hung 
on his arm. He did not know how he had gained 
courage and good fortune for such close commu- 
nion. Old Van den Ende took care of Cecilia. 
Olympia and Spinoza followed in silence. When 
they came to the roadside house Olympia said: 

" Look, there is the well in which the weak, good- 
natured Barläus drank his death. Would it not have 
been more reasonable and manly to give up his 
faith than his life ?" 

" We have not given ourselves either faith or life," 
answered Spinoza. " Suicide of either one or the 
other is cowardly and weak; strength lies in bear- 
ing one and the other; deny yourself for them, or 
learn to free them." Olympia was silent. 


"This diplomatic obtrusive mediation enrages 
me," she said after a pause, " that Oldenburg 
thought to effect so artfully to-day. A third, who 
disturbs a tender relation with a word, originates 
estrangements and misunderstandings which but 
for him would never have arisen, or would much 
sooner have been extinguished." 

" I am glad you think so," said Spinoza, and bit 
his lips in violent mental conflict. " Dear Olympia," 
he continued, " I have struggled with all my might, 
but I am not so strong as you think. I fall if you 
do not grant me your hand, or rather if you do not 
withdraw it from me. I cannot say the word that 
my heart would speak to you, but I conjure you, 
send me from you; never, never must we belong to 
one another." 

Olympia pressed his arm closer to her, her voice 
trembled, both hands were clasped. 

"What!" she asked. "Why not? Have we 
nailed Christ to the cross? What does it matter to 
us what a fanatical crowd did thousands of years 
ago ? Have you risen to such a height of intellect 
to be frightened by a form to which men have 
bound themselves ? Have you not told me a hun- 
dred times you loved and reverenced the spirit of 
Christ as that of the Saviour of the world ? Would 
to God our relative positions were reversed! Joy- 
fully would I follow you to the altar. Where love is 


perjury cannot be. Or shall I hasten to the syna- 
gogue, and be baptized by the Rabbis ?" 

" Dear Olympia, if you but knew the force of the 
pain which now rends my heart you would not 
speak to me so. It would be perjury, naught else, 
if I swore to accept knowingly any other faith. 
Thanks to progressive development I can declare 
myself free from the form of faith into which I was 
born, and can build up for myself a view of higher 
things as nature gives the hand to my powers of 
mind. I can and will be withheld by no personal 
consideration from speaking out, and living accord- 
ing to my convictions of faith and opinion; a reli- 
gious community in which I have been placed by 
chance of birth cannot hinder me therefrom. But 
it is otherwise wilfully to entersuch. The new com- 
munity could justly ask me, What draws you to us 
if it is not Truth ? You have no longer a claim to 
influence in the old, or in the newly accepted sanc- 
tuary. I know the sophisms well enough that are 
suggested to us: you merely follow the form, your 
intellect is still free. But it is and ever will be per- 
jury, and durst I, a perjurer, ever take the word 
truuh on my lips without blushing ? My unhappy 
countryman Uriel Acosta, of whom I have told you 
before, thus ended his life by a dreadful suicide, 
because he had already commit.ted tlie suicide of 
his intellect by recantation. He must have ap- 


peared to himself despicable, and unworthy of life 
in face of that truth. Yes and no were worth 
nothing to him; they had become meaningless." 
Olympia was silent; she pressed one hand to her 
eyes, and allowed herself to be blindly led by 
Spinoza. He continued in an agitated voice: 

" I return your question: Have we thus climbed 
these heights of intelligence to aWow ourselves to 
be conquered by an inclination which must be the 
source of infinite trouble to us ? I fought long, but 
I must at last speak to you frankly and honorably; 
from this hour henceforward let us forget and lay 
aside all that we were to each other and that we 
wished to be. It is yet time. Separation and a 
strong will may enable us again to find peace. We 
have loved, that is enough. Seek with another the 
happiness I dare not offer, cannot offer." 

His tongue refused to go on; he was obliged to 
stop. Olympia's hand trembled in his. 

" I am not ashamed to confess I have thought it 
over," said she. " You can become a Christian 
without any denial of your convictions; I have even 
consulted the passage for you. Do you know that 
the root of your new views lies in the words of 
John ? ' Hereby we know that we dwell in Him 
and He in us, because He hath given us of His 
spirit.' Indeed, without any inconsistency you 
must be a Christian." 

" Why do you not quote the preceding verse," 

|Wj -^^ 



answered Spinoza, " which has so close an applica- 
tion to our case? 'If we love one another God 
dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.' 
But reflect; if some results of my process of thought 
agree with the Christian views of the world, must 
I therefore swear to the Church creed ? Perhaps 
that would be the result contemplated by Justus 
Lipsius, who, as you know, wrote a book called 
De Constantia (on constancy), and changed his faith 
every two years." 

" I thought you were more independent, but I 
see Oldenburg has perverted you too," said Olympia 
in a cutting tone. " You strive after the glory of 
Dante, but I am no Beatrice, and will not be. Oh, 
it is too bad ! You will throw yourself into active 
life; a youthful affection is easily forgotten then. 
Perhaps you will jest over it, while I — what does 
it matter if I fade away in grief ?" 

*'Dear Olympia," interposed Spinoza, " your own 
heart must blame you for such words. Reflect a 
moment; what could 1 offer you ? Nothing but a 
poverty-stricken life of self-denial. If I could for- 
swear the faith of my fathers, if I could live wholly 
for you alone — be wholly yours . ." 

" Schalom Alechem, Rabbi Baruch, you need not 
be in haste. Maariph * is ended,'' a harsh voice 
interrupted their conversation. Spmoza turned 

* Evening prayer in the synagogfue. 



round; it was Chisdai, who, without awaiting a 
response, went on shaking his head. 

" Did that man hear what I said ?" asked Spi- 

" I think not," answered Olympia; "but it is hor- 
rible that such Medusa faces can speak familiarly 
to you. That decide^ it; a higher duty has its 
claims. I will not desert you. I hate renunciation; 
it is nothing but hypocritical cowardice; it would 
be unworthy of yourself and of me." 

They had arrived at the Van den Ende's house. 
Spinoza would have taken his leave. 

"You must come in with us," said Olympia. 
" You can hardly imagine how dreary it seems to 
me when I have gone through great agitation of 
mind out of doors to go in alone where the familiar 
walls seem altered and strange. Everything is a 
burden to me. T think I shall die of restlessness 
and inexpressible longing. Generally I then play 
the organ until I find rest in perfect stupefaction. 
Come in with me, I entreat you.' 



CECILIA was praying in the next room before 
her crucifix. Spinoza sat silently near Olym- 
pia; her hand rested close to his, but he did not 
attempt to clasp it. Dreamily and reflectively the 
two lovers looked long at each other in silence. 

" When I am so exalted to the very highest point 
of rapturous spiritual emjoyment," said Olympia, 
" I feel nothing but longing for death. Now, borne 
so far above all small annoyances, now I would 
that I might die. So near and akin to the Highest, 
I should be absorbed into his being." 
. " Formerly, when I was still capable of such re- 
ligious raptures, I was often possessed by such a 
desire for death," replied Spinoza. "We might, 
perhaps, find the explanation of this sensation in 
the Talmudist legend that Moses died of a kiss, in 
that God the Lord recalled his soul to himself in 
a kiss." 

Olympia was taken by surprise at this strange 
turn. Was this mind always absorbed in its inves- 
tigations, or did he .wish by such parables to veil 
the ardent wish of his heart, and yet to explain it ? 
Formerly their exchange of thoughts had been easy; 


now they sat mutely together and did not know 
what to say to one another. At Spinoza's desire 
Olympia sang the ballad he had surprised her 
while singing the first time he saw her. She sang 
the refrain 

" You are my own true wife, 
No other shall be my own for life" 

with such melting tenderness, and drew out the 
notes of the organ by which she accompanied her- 
self into such long-drawn sighs that Spinoza pain- 
fully missed the repose which the song had once 
given to his agitated heart. It was with difficulty 
that he refrained from clasping her to him and 
sealing the melodious spring of song with a kiss. 
He could trust himself no longer, so he took his 
hat and went away. Olympia took the lamp and 
lighted him down the steps, but without a word. 
Below Spinoza held out his hand; she laid her curly 
head on his breast; he embraced her; her heart 
beat violently under his hand. 

"Dear Olympia," he said, "I conjure you by all 
that is holy, love me not; I am not worthy of it." 

*4 must love you," she said. "Command my 
heart to cease beating. I cannot leave you !" Her 
voice trembled; he pressed her closer to his breast, 
and held her fast with an ardent kiss. He then 
tore himself from her embrace and rushed out. 
Olympia sprang warbling up the steps and cried in 



a sprightly voice, '' Good night, Herr von Spi- 


He stood before the house; the door shut behind 
him. With heavy sighs passed care-laden married 
couples who endeavored to enjoy the holiday even- 
ing in the fresh air; lovers passed with quicker 
steps and livelier conversation; sailors sauntered 
on and merrily sang and chorused the old Dutch 

** To eastern lands will I journey, 
There dwells my sweetest love; 
Over hill, and over valley, 
Far over the moorland, 
There dwells my sweetest love. 

" The sun from sight has sunk under; 
The stars now blink out so clear; 
I know that I with my loved one, 
Far over the moorland, 
Was in that orchard so near. 

** The garden door is fastened. 
And no one can come in, 
But the nightingales only, 
Far over the moorland, 
Who fly from far to come in. 

** We must the nightingales fasten 
Their heads to their feet close to. 
That they may tell naught to others, 
Far over the moorland, 
Of what two sweet lovers there do. 

3 14 SPINOZA. 

" And though you had thus bound me. 
My heart is not the less sound; 
So thus I can yet prattle, 
Far over the moorland, 
Of two sweetest lovers' death-wound." 

• It was a varied throng. Spinoza hardly noticed it. 

"Women's ways are indeed unfathomable!" he 
said to himself. " Did she not feel the infinite 
depth of that moment ? Or did she act with such 
apparent indifference to all that had passed to hide 
it quickly from Cecilia ? But how could she possi- 
bly do it?" 

He could not go home in such agitation of mind; 
he crossed the street, and sat down on the steps of 
the chapel of St. Olave's. He looked across at 
Olympia's lighted windows, and often saw her 
shadow pass backwards and forwards until the 
light was extinguished. He was almost ashamed 
of himself, gazing at the windows of his beloved 
like a sentimental knight, and laughed internally 
as Tessala occurred to him. 

" I cannot leave you, say you. I will not, I dare 
not leave you, I tell you; have I not pressed your 
coy, pure lips to mine ? You are mine, mine for- 
ever. Was not my mother a Moslem, and changed 
to our faith ? Should I have remained a Moslem if 
by chance I had been born such ? But thy father 
and mother loved each other wholly and uncon- 
trollably at first sight, and as to thee, dost thou 



think Olympia faultless ? Hast thou not, flattered 
by her wild charms, persuaded thyself into a con- 
nection that at first appeared to thee so objection- 
able ? A love that must overcome doubt is greater 
and more enduring than that other that seems as 
if fallen from Heaven; it is intellectual love. Thou 
wouldst picture to thyself a life of self-denial. Away 
with it! She loves thee, and at her side thou wilt 
find renown and happiness, honor and joy. What 
will give me back the pleasures that I would cast 
from me for the sake of truth ? Truth ! But must 
I be her slave ? I alone, of so many thousands, 
condemn myself to give up my inborn right to the 
gay pleasures of life ? I will deck truth with the 
figleaf of orthodoxy, will choose words with double 
»meanings to save superstition; should I not thus 
serve truth still more ? Thou wouldst serve her by 
lies. No, I would never speak against my convic- 
tions, but only shut them close in my breast. And 
the CathcMc confession of faith ? Olympia loves 
me; must I not save her? Some day in happier 
times it may be otherwise, but now I must obey 
the times. And thy father and Geronimo — they 
were believing Jews, but thou ?" 

Such thoughts disturbed Spinoza's mind, to which 
the ever-returning chime at the quarter hours in the 
quiet night made a singular accompaniment. To 
him life was not measured by the notes from the 
church tower. 


Is no other way to be found ? . . . . 

He must have sat there a long time, for towards 
midnight Maessen Blutzaufer and Flyns, arm in arm 
like two powers holding each other in equipoise, 
reeling homewards, jested over the poor sinner, 
who, instead of seeking his mistress, cowered there 
in the cold night on the hard stones. Spinoza no- 
ticed nothing of what went on around him. At last 
he stood up, and when he looked at the place in 
which he had remained so long he was forced to 
laugh against his will; it was the church built on 
the model of the Temple of Jerusalem. 

" Sleep sweetly," he said to himself, as he looked 
at Olympia's window. " I have watched over thee; 
thou shalt rest ever at my side." 

The bells rang loudly, the organ resounded 
through the whole building, an innumerable throng 
filled the Catholic cathedral. Spinoza stood be- 
fore the altar between Dr. Van den Ende and his 
daughter. Olympia w^as in bridal attire. Above, 
in the gallery, stood Spinoza's father, his garments 
rent, his countenance pale and stony. High mass 
began. Cecilia and Olympia knelt down. Van den 
Ende and Spinoza followed their example. Chisdai 
and the skeleton of the fat Domine were dressed as 
acolytes. Chisdai swung the censer, and whenever 
he made the sign of the cross on his brow, his fin- 
gers caught on the bridge of his nose; and when the 
skeleton did likewise, his fleshless fingers stuck in. 


the hole in which his nose once had been; and when 
they rang the bell, his bare ribs clattered like dry 
poppy-heads shaken by the w^ind. High mass was 
ended. Spinoza advanced alone, and knelt before 
the priest on the steps of the altar. He cursed the 
mother who bore him, and the father who had be- 
gotten him, because they had not taken him from his 
birth to the bosom of the one saving faith. A cry of 
grief was heard from the gallery, and a corpse was 
carried out. Spinoza repeated the creed in a low 
voice, inaudible to all but the priest. The priest laid 
both hands on the head of the candidate, blessed 
him gently, and sprinkled his brow three times 
with holy water. The organ broke out in joyous 

'' Baruch, Baruch !" it now cried, "get up !" It 
was only a dream. Spinoza lay in his bed, and old 
Chaje stood before him with a light. He passed 
his hand over his brow; it was wet with cold per- 

" What is the matter ?" he asked. 

" Your father is dying; it would break the heart 
of a stone ! The men from the neighborhood are 
already below." 

Baruch sprang hastily out of bed, dressed as much 
as was absolutely necessary, and ran down stairs; 
his father must already be very bad, for he heard 
the men chant in loud chorus, " Hear, O Israel, the 
Lord our God is one God." 


As he entered the room his father was repeating 
the conclusion of the prayer: 

"Master of the world! Lord of pardon and 
mercy, it is by thy grace, my God and my fathers' 
God, that my thoughts mount to the throne of thy 
glory, to thy goodness ! Look on my trouble, for 
because of thine anger there is no soundness in my 
flesh, neither is there any rest in my bones be- 
cause of my sin. Now, O God of pardon, grant 
me thy grace, and go not into judgment with thy 
servant. If this be indeed my hour of' death, may 
the knowledge of thy Unity not leave my lips, as 
it is written in thy scriptures, ' Hear, O Israel, 
the Lord our God is one God ! ' I confess before 
thee, Eternal One, my God and the God of my 
fathers, God of all spirit and flesh, that my re- 
covery and my death are in thy power. It would 
be by thy mercy if thou shouldst allow me per- 
fect recovery, and my thoughts and my prayers 
should mount unto thee like the prayer of Heze- 
kiah in his sickness. But if the hour of my death 
be indeed come, may my death be the atonement 
for all the sins of omission and commission which 
I have sinned and committed in thy sight from 
the day of my birth. Give me my share in the 
Garden of Eden, and console me in the future 
world reserved for the pious. Show me the way of 
Life, make me full of joy before thy face, for at 
thy right hand are eternity and glory. Praised 



be thou, Eternal, Hearer of prayers. Into thy 
hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. Thou wilt 
save me, Eternal God of truth." 

Baruch sat down at the bedside of his father 
whose breath came with ever-increasing difficulty; 
he clasped his son's hand whose fever heat the cold 
hand of death could not cool. 

" Father !" cried Baruch; he could say no more. 

" Pray for me, my son," said his father gently. 
The rattle became ever louder, every instant they 
thought his breath must stop; all those assembled 
cried incessantly: 

" Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one God !" 

The sick man prayed with them. He raised his 
eyes to Heaven, and with the word " one" he gave 
up his breath; his lips still pressed together, opened 
as if for a kiss — he was dead. 

Rabbi Saul Morteira opened a window as a sign 
that the soul journeyed to Heaven, and all present 
" " Praised be the Righteous Judge !" 

Baruch sank from his father's bed to the floor, 
and pressed the dead hand to his hot brow; from 
above in another chamber echoed the half sup- 
pressed lamentations of Miriam and Rebecca. Those 
present conversed in low whispers, and were just on 
the point of going away, when some one was heard 
to mount the stairs with loud, stumbling haste. The 
door was thrown open. 


" Is he dead ?" inquired a voice. 

" Hush, silence, Rabbi Chisdai !" answered those 

"Woe, treble woe to this house !" cried Chisdai. 
" He alone could have yet saved his Ben sorer 
umoreh.^ I heard with my own ears that he meant 
to turn Christian, and marry a Christian w^oman." 

'^ If you do not go out this instant," answered 
Samuel Casseres, " and if you say another such word 
against my brother-in-law, I will show you the way 
out. No one invited you." 

" You will invite me, and I ^hall not come," an- 
swered Chisdai, as he was shouldered out by the 

Benjamin von Spinoza had desired in his will 
that his broken old Spanish sword should be laid 
in the grave with him; the Rabbis objected for 
some time to fulfil this- desire, whose meaning but 
few could imagine. Spinoza was obliged to bring 
forward many authorities from the Talmud before 
he could see his father's wish fulfilled. Outside 
in the graveyard, in accordance with old Jewish 
custom, he was made to kneel down at his father's 
feet, and beg forgiveness from God and his father 
for all in which he had sinned against them; then 
he must tear his garments on the left breast, and 
when the coffin was lowered, the son must be the 

* Stubborn and rebellious son. 



first to enter the grave, and throw a handful of 
earth thereon. He did all this with uncertain step 
and trembling hand; Chisdai sprang forward to 
support him. 

For seven long days Spinoza was obliged to sit 
on the ground with rent garments and without 
shoes, and for thirty days he was not permitted to 
shave his beard; but his outward appearance was 
not so uncared for and torn as his inward feelings. 
How often as he rested his elbows on his knees, 
his face covered with his hands, how often he 
thought of Olympia. What would become of 
them ? 

His greatest trial was a visit from Oldenburg 
and Meyer, who came just as he was sitting on the 
ground with his sisters, and the Rabbis were chant- 
ing a litany or sort of mass for the dead before the 

He thought much about the free, unfettered life 
he would make for himself. Desire for rest and 
contemplative solitude often rose in him like an 
overwhelming homesickness; he felt imprisoned by 
the tumult of the world and its ways. And again 
he saw how his whole former life had been beset 
by difficulties. He would strive for consistency; 
should he find it in union with Olympia or not, it 
was at least a painful consolation that the unmiti- 
gated opposition of his father no longer stood be- 
tween them. 



SPINOZA was walking thoughtfully down the 
Kalverstraat, when some one said, "Ha, ha! 
how proud we are !" 

Spinoza turned round; it was Frau Gertrui 
Ufmsand who was looking out of her ground floor 

^' How are you ?" she said. *^ You look as sour as 
vinegar. I have only seen you once in this street 
isince Magister Nigritius died, and that was a fort- 
night ago. You passed with Olympia Tan den 
Ende. I said ' Good evening ' twice, but you were 
better employed, neither of you either heard or saw 
me. Those were fine times, were they not, when 
you came every day to the Magister ? But you 
have grown twenty years older since those days. 
Ah ! we have gone through a deal with our apart- 
ments since then. First we had a painter, who 
went to vespers in the church where clinking 
glasses are the bells, then he would come home a 
full fool and awake us out of our beauty sleep. 
Then we had a widow who would have skinned a 
flint, and looked so sharply after us all day we 
could hardly breathe before her. It was my hus- 




band — he is a queer fellow — who at last gave her 
notice. I never said anything to her, but said to 
my Klaas, 'She is a widow, we must excuse her.' 
The beautifuljittle room has now stood empty for 
half a year, and we. have just had it fresh painted; 
it is all fresh done up, and looks like a little chapel. 
I never like to go up the stairs to it." 

" Geert, be so good as to shut the window, the 
bits all fly in my eyes. If you want to talk to the 
gentleman, go out and let him in," cried a gruff 
voice from inside the room. 

"Come in for a bit," said Gertrui shutting the 
window. Spinoza went in and said he should be 
glad to take the room, as, to do his work, he must 
either be in an open place or high up for a good 
light. The good people thought at first he was jest- 
ing, and were greatly rejoiced when they found he 
was in earnest. Gertrui showed him the little 
room, on whose floor the fine sand was artistically 
sprinkled like a lace pattern. The little bed in a 
recess, like the berth of a ship, was empty. 

"Look," said the woman, "that is the old 
Magister's armchair; I washed and dusted every- 
thing; there is not a speck on it now. I can find you 
everything but a bed; I use all my beds for the ap- 
prentices. Here the Magister kept his books; you* 
can put your books there now. Have you the 
same bad habit as the blessed Magister of laying 
all your books in sight on the tables, chairs and 



stools, and not letting any of them be moved with- 
out a regular storm? Did you never see that 
beautiful white Amaryllis that the blessed Magister 
was so fond of ? It disappeared from the day of 
his death, though such animals generally stick to a 
house, not to the people in it. I would give a good 
deal to see it back again; I should be sorry from my 
heart if anything happened to it. Ay, and it was so 
knowing, it could tell to a minute when the raw 
meat was brought, and we were never bothered 
with mxice." 

Spinoza regretted he had nowhere seen the 

If we have again given too much space to the 
chatter of an old woman, we may bear with her 
loquacity a little in consideration of the motherly 
care which she took of our philosopher. 

Spinoza, whose two brothers-in-law found them- 
selves deceived in their expectations, was obliged 
to take legal means for the division of his father's 
inheritance. When he had obtained his legal rights 
he voluntarily gave up his share, keeping only a 
single bed with its necessary hangings, which he 
had taken with his work-bench and his few books 
and clothes to the house' of Klaas Ufmsand. Here 
at last he was permitted to order his outer life in 
perfect conformity with the requirements of his 
spiritual nature. The serene equanimity derived 
from conviction, which opposes tranquil delibera- 



tion to the stormy excitement of the decisive 
moments of existence, as well as to the annoyances 
and the restless struggles of every-day life; that 
self-dependence, won by cheerful renunciation of 
the intoxications of empty, exhausting pleasures; 
that exaltation and satisfaction in the kingdom of 
intellect, a peace of mind won after hot conflict, a 
clear penetration of the world, whose enigmas were 
solved, and eternal laws discovered; these were the 
benefits which he made ever more plainly and 
firmly his own in solitude. 

From early morning he sat working at his bench. 
As he snipped a piece from his glass with the sharp 
diamond, he broke an idea off from the great sys- 
tem that lay complete though undeveloped in 
himself. When he worked the leaden plate and gave 
the glass its proper form the idea in him gained 
firmer shape, and so on through all the stages; 
ever more distinct the form, ever more transparent 
the material. Many splinters must fall, many rough 
places be smoothed, till at last the truth should be 
reflected in the mirror. When he had earned his 
bread by the day's handiwork, in the quiet night by 
his single lamp he placed his finely polished ideas 
before him, collected the dust which had fallen 
from them, and strewed it thereon, that they be- 
came opaque; then with a light hand wiped it off, 
and proved that it did not necessarily belong there, 
and that he had but hidden the light, not ex- 


tinguished it. So worked, so philosophized Bene- 
dict de Spinoza. 

Not long after his withdrawal from the busy 
world he had to break off some hours a day from 
his manual labor to lead a younger mind in the 
paths of philosophy. Meyer one day brought 
young Simon de Vries to him, who, since the short 
view we had of him before, had become the lucky 
heir of the rich results of his father's speculations 
in tea, and now gave himself up to quite other 
speculations. Spinoza took him through a course 
on the principles of Descartes' philosophy. In the 
same room where he had once learned to decline 
mensa, in the same chair in which his master had 
once sat to correct his exercises, he now sat to teach 
the philosophy of Descartes, and build yet higher 
on the same foundation, as the necessities of that 
method required. Honorable Dodimus de Vries, 
who had once been able to do quickly the most 
complicated mental arithmetic, had not only left his 
numerous and weighty ducats to his son Simon, but 
also his arithmetical readiness. This youthful tal- 
ent for mathematics gave Spinoza much pleasure. 

For two or three days at a time, and often much 
longer, he never left his room.; he never willingly 
left the familiar solitude in which he felt so much 
at ease, in which the hours and days like quiet 
streams flowed refreshingly and animatingly past 



Good Gertrui was very uneasy about her new 

" I don't know," she said, " whether you mean to 
accustom yourself to do without food, or whether 
the ravens from Heaven come to feed you, like the 
prophet in the wilderness; you cannot possibly 
have enough with what you have from me. Yester- 
day you had nothing all day long but milk soup, 
some butter and a little draught of beer which 
with the water and turf I bought comes to ^\ 
stivers, and to-day you have been satisfied the 
whole day with oat-meal porridge, raisins and 
butter, which have cost exactly the same. I calcu- 
lated that in a whole month you have only at the 
most drunk two half pints of wine. That is neither 
living nor dying." 

Spinoza tried to make the good dame under- 
stand that his earnings would not suffice for greater 
expense, and that he was quite satisfied with his 
manner of living. 

" Yes," she said, " one ought only to stretch one's 
self according to one's counterpane, that is upright 
and honest; but if one can make the cover longer, 
is it not stupid to lie doubled under it like a shut- 
up clasp-knife ? The many rich and great gentle- 
men who come in and out every day, I know v/ell 
enough, would be well pleased to give you more 
money. It would not be like taking a present; they 
disturb you so often over your work that they ought 


to make it good again. The servant of rich Simon 
de Vries has now been here three times to invite 
you to his house, and instead of going there to eat 
fresh pulpy crabs, that melt in your mouth like 
butter, you stay at home to your thin milk-soup. 
Yet for the rest you know all about everything; 
one can come and talk to you about anything. I 
can't think what has come to you that you pinch 
yourself so." 

The good dame would not be convinced by any 

" Learned folk have always some queer notion 
or another in their heads," said she, as she de- 
scended the stairs and told Oldenburg, whom she 
met there, the whole dispute with variations. Ol- 
denburg, too, was much displeased with his friend's 
voluntary imprisonment in a cell. He was afraid 
that such seclusion from active life, such silent 
burial in the depths of his thoughts and feelings, 
would create a boundary within which each dis- 
turbing element would engender a sensitiveness of 
feeling which would reject all opposition, because 
it had withdrawn from it. He knew not that such 
weaknesses of tender and reserved souls are far 
removed from great and steadfast minds, who know 
no partiality, for they bear the whole world in their 
hearts, and cannot be surprised or hurt at the dis- 
cords of the outer world, because they have pene- 
trated them, and to themselves have reduced all to 



harmony. Other reasons also made the anxious 
friend think an alteration in Spinoza's way of life 
desirable. Among these stood first the fear that 
Spinoza's love for Olympia, which he had rightly 
guessed, might be so deeply rooted in his mind by 
solitude that it would become ineradicable. He 
still believed that, by prudent measures, he could 
enter into the life of an independent mind and 
direct it. 

" Our age," he once said to Spinoza, *' the age of 
humanity, new born from the classics and the self- 
revelations of reason, has its apostles, who travel 
through all lands and declare their new ideas like 
any others. When Christianity arose, and had not 
yet made itself accepted anywhere, pious men came 
forward and preached in all places, even at peril 
of their lives; and in our age we have seen enthu- 
siastic men wander from town to town, and from 
land to land, making known the words revealed to 
them in all places. Think of Giordano Bruno; he 
has travelled through almost the whole civilized 
world to support his views on all sides. Unfortu- 
nately he made the incomprehensible mistake of 
going back to Italy to die at the stake as a martyr 
for philosophy. But this way of learning to know 
the world and its motives and connecting forces 
from personal inspection, and placing it before the 
intelligence in living words, not trying to found 
and rule it from a lonely garret, is the only right 


way for a true thinker. Our master, or, if you do 
not like to call him that, our teacher, Descartes, 
after a time of lonely seclusion, recognized that the 
truth must be extracted from the world if it would 
again pervade the world. He learned to know men 
in peace and war; he was even a soldier himself, and 
travelled much. And you must recognize this too 
as a revelation of our age, that it has been granted 
to our century first, in artistic recognition of silent 
nature, to open the mind's eye to landscape. You 
too must travel, and if you do not wish to teach 
the world you must at least learn to know it truly. 
You shall not want for money; de Vries and I will 
willingly give you all you need. You must not 
reject it, for it is not a present offered to a 
friend; we pay this tribute to science and man- 
kind. You do more than we; you dedicate your 
life to it." 

" If you please," answered Spinoza in a gentle 
voice, " if you do not intend to annoy me, let this be 
the last fime that you make me offers of money. I 
explained to you and de Vries long ago that I 
could not accept it. Moreover, as far as I am con- 
cerned, I cannot endure this new sort of wander- 
ing philosophy which you so strongly recom.mend. 
I am no friend to disputation with this, that and 
the other man, and seldom see any advantage ac- 
crue from it; for what is opposed is usually not the 
expression of pure thoughts, but such personalities 

and wilful misinterpretationis that it has more td-sdo 
with Peter and Paul, and v^|iat they have jj^öcome 
by habit and inclination, tharf^with pure intetlcfcti^* 

"Just why you should learn tO^know Petef and 
Paul more intimately, to conquer their prejudices, 
and personal bias." 

" I wish to explore and ascertain the laws of 
human existence and intelligence. I have often ex- 
plained to you already that I do not set myself to 
discover the errors of others. If these are revealed 
by the revelation of the natural law so much the 
better. You, by your profession, must concern 
yourself for others; to me it is given to search in 
the book of history and the workings of my own 

" That you should do," answered Oldenburg, 
"and to do so you should investigate the world in 
the whole, as well as in detail. Let me take your 
handiwork, these glasses, as a metaphor. Were our 
eyes microscopically arranged, we should look at 
only a single part, never at a whole; were our eyes 
only for a distant prospect, we should never know 
the peculiarities of things. Thus it is the preroga- 
tive of human intellect to accommodate by art both 
the microscopic and telescopic views of things to 
its own assigned natural mediocrity; and in con- 
clusion by imagination, by thought, to recognize 
them in their conditions; but this the large and 
small views must precede. It is thus with our 


knowledge of human life. So travel and live for 

"Leave me to my homely four walls," answered 
the philosopher. " The world of appearances is well 
enough investigated and described by others for us 
to follow its laws by quiet observation. I am ever 
myself in my cell here, and strive to collect around 
me all the spirits of truth. Believe me, it is a 
numerous and goodly company, and I am never 
alone or desolate; and if I am alone with myself, 
I can investigate more quietly and uninterruptedly 
the mingled elements and connecting links of the 
human mind. He who from the height of a bird's 
flight can take in with his eye how one stream 
flows into another, and at last all flow into the sea, 
can see no more than is offered to the quiet glance 
when it follows the inner cross currents of the mind. 
Yes, he who can live quietly alone with his own 
mind — with a mind that is controlled or influenced 
by nothing foreign to itself — he lives again in Para- 
dise, happy in himself and in the universe." 

. Oldenburg's eyes had never yet sparkled as they 
did now; there was a thrill of reverence and ecstasy 
perceptible in his usually firm voice and in his 
whole deportment as he rose and said: 

" O friend! what can we say to you who have all 
things in yourself? And yet perhaps a call from 
without may yet be a motive to you. See, it is not 
for naught that the legends of all people say that 



gods became men, allowing themselves to be con- 
fined by the limits and powers of human existence, 
in order to raise themselves freely from it, and raise 
others with them, even though it should be by a 
death of torture. You too must offer yourself as a 
sacrifice by following the call of the truth given to 
you. You will not take me for the dying thief on 
the cross, and I will only echo the words which the 
world may say of your life and thoughts: if you 
possess knowledge of the truth — they will say — 
and if you are its open and unreserved confessor, 
come forth from your quiet solitude, come forth 
into active life, declare, and suffer for it." 

With his hands folded on his breast Spinoza an- 

" To die for a recognized truth is blessedness that 
knows no pain. What is a long life to that ecstasy 
which existence itself and the devotion of it to the 
witness of truth gives could it but convince others? 
But a martyr's death proves nothing to others. 
Men have gone joyfully to death for the most op- 
posite convictions. I myself once knew what is 
called a believing Jew, who, in the midst of the 
flames, when men believed him already dead, 
chanted the Psalm ' Into Thy hands I commend 
my spirit,' and breathed out his soul in song. 
What could a life of every day returning duties, 
refinements and pleasures prevail against the one 
all-inclusive act of devotion? But if external pres- 



sure does not conquer the man standing firm for 
his knowledge of faith, neither does his death, 
which is after all only an external proof, convince 
others. If I, as I hope, may one day so far have 
cultivated myself as to be able to teach others, I 
shall have no laws to give them, no rounded sen- 
tences to inculcate; each one must find his laws in 
himself and in the world. The recognition of the 
laws innate in nature, that is the salvation of him- 
self and of the world. The character, the conscious 
development of its natural laws, the appropriate 
direction of its actions, and free acceptance of the 
thus necessitated fate, this is the prerogative of 
humanity, which cannot be taught and cannot be 
transferred, which can only be attained by individ- 
ual work in self." 

After these words the two friends stood by each 
other in silent reflection, and on this elevation of 
thought they again felt the pleasure of regarding 
the world with one and the same view. Neither 
knew or wished to know who was giver, who re- 
ceiver; they were one soul and one heart, and yet 
each saw himself reflected in the other. As Olden- 
burg went away he felt deeply the awe-inspiring 
power his friend's mind had over him. It seemed 
audacious in him to wish to control here; he could 
but give his hand, and lend outward support to the 
inner independent necessities. He felt blessed in 
the power for such masculine friendship, sprung 



from the foundation of pure intellect, that had 
made devotion to this another personal pleasure. 

What^can love offer more, and should the thinker, 
happy in himself, not be satisfied with friendship 
alone? Spinoza felt more and more at home in the 
peaceful serenity of his life, whose equable happi- 
ness can be called nothing else than blessedness. 
For the exercise of the intellect in solitude is the 
highest felicity of life — near to the eternal sun, 
above the tumult of the world, above the clouds 
which float in the atmosphere of the earth. In 
solitude life is explained; there no cry from with- 
out is possible, nothing to break the stream of the 
thinking existence. And what first appeared as 
will fortifies itself into self-sustaining endurance. 
Thoughts flow together like a chorus of saved 
spirits and carry the physically imprisoned soul 
with them. Set free and forgotten is the mortal 
self, and life becomes thought. 

What disturbs in the present and in uncongenial 
contact wins a milder meaning, and awakens a 
gentle conciliation in the mind that is inspired by 
a love of truth and rectitude, and that no reproach 
can drag down. It was like an awakening from 
that unconscious life, which yet had moved in the 
immaterial paths of thought to the inner develop- 
ment of himself, and the consideration of himself, 
and his relation to the outer world. 

When Spinoza so abstracted himself from all per- 


sonal considerations in the pure exercise of thought 
he was often surprised at the recollection that it 
was some days since he had seen Olympia, even 
since he had thought of her, and yet he loved her 
with his whole heart. It was not stormy, demon- 
strative love with its overwhelming passions; it was 
the quietly growing inclination whose roots rest in 
conviction, and the clear knowledge of the necessity 
of the relationship. This love, however, had its 
surprises and enigmatical self-torments as well as 
any other which is torn by storms of passions. 
His heart throbbed and swelled with love afresh 
whenever he went to Olympia's house; and not 
seldom he left it with an agitated mind, which only 
recovered itself in his beloved solitude. Would he 
really conquer his love for Olympia, or would he 
merely go through a probation with it? He spoke 
more than ever of his Judaism, and in many other 
ways, indeed, he strove to place himself in an un- 
desirable light; and yet he was pained again when 
he appeared to have gained his end, and Olympia — 
whether from coquetry or to exercise a right of 
retaliation — accorded all manner of trifling favors 
to the light-haired Kerkering, by which he felt in 
the highest degree honored, and became yet more 
settled in his conviction that Spinoza was only a 
man of straw put there to tease him. Since that 
eventful evening the two lovers had not conversed 
alone, otherwise misunderstandings and mistakes 



would easily have been explained; but even exposed 
to the eyes of the uninitiated observers they en- 
joyed the raptures of the inexpressible felicity of 
love. Often as their lips said the most indifferent 
things their eyes spoke all the feelings which they 
fostered in secret, hidden for one another. 



THE Jews are sounding the alarm after you; 
they look upon you as a deserter, and want to 
bring you back to their standard," said Oldenburg 
to Spinoza as he entered the room with Meyer. 

*' Don't be afraid," said Meyer, " you have climbed 
so high above them that they will be out of breath 
before they catch you." 

"How would it be," continued Oldenburg, "if, 
while they are in pursuit, you enlisted under an- 
other flag, and dressed yourself in another uni- 
form ?" 

" But you once lauded Turenne for not doing 
so," answered Spinoza, " and I should not know 
what uniform to adopt." 

"You are right there," said Meyer; "if I had a 
uniform to cut out for you I should use the whole 
heavens for the purpose, and hang the sun and 
moon on your breast for orders." They laughed, 
and Oldenburg began again: 

"What is the use of skirmishing? We must take 
the thing by the throat. Meyer, from his hia- 
tro-mathematical heights, always maintains that 
the efforts of reason should be directed towards the 



rooting out of all dogmatic creeds, and especially 
the authority of the Bible. Luther, he says, has 
overturned traditional creeds, but has set us down 
on the barren sand of mere verbal inspiration. He 
even quotes you, and says you think nothing of the 
prophets or sacred history." 

" If he does he is wrong. I think the prophets, 
with their visions and inner revelations, which we 
may call direct divine gifts, may probably recog- 
nize the truth as plainly as the clearest judgments 
of reason. It is only because the former remains 
on the lowest step of perception that it is more ex- 
posed to error than pure reason. Theology and 
philosophy are not opposed to one another; they 
merely rest on different foundations. I am con- 
vinced of the eternal and inextinguishable utility 
of the so-called sacred histories for the common 
people. He who believes in them and rules his life 
in accordance has succeeded as heir to a great 
accumulation of truths proved by experience, to 
which the small body of men who cannot simply 
believe in them can only attain by their own un- 
assisted powers of thought. Both are fortunate, 
the latter the most fortunate, because they them- 
selves discover the collected laws of nature. The 
Bible cannot pretend to such universal application, 
and has never done so; it is a slowly accumulated 
work which includes much extraneous matter; its 
aims are not learning and thought, but faith and 



action; and that is why we ought first to compre- 
hend how we can create anything as good, and 
yet more definite, by our own innate intellectual 

" Look there ! There is my * original sin ' again," 
interrupted Meyer. " Firstly, they say, ' Human 
nature is originally and thoroughly bad, and can- 
not understand higher things.' Then they say that 
'a- supernatural revelation is necessary to save them 
from this situation.' They cut a leg off human na- 
ture and triumphantly exclaim, * Look, it cannot 
walk or stand alone, so we must make a false leg, 
and look after its joints every Sunday, that man- 
kind may run again with it for seven days.' " 

" Meyer, you are always trying to enrich the 
inheritance of original sin," said Oldenburg. Then, 
turning to Spinoza he continued, " Tell me openly, 
are you not convinced that Judaism is obsolete and 
narrow ?" 

" You ask a great deal; but I must first repeat, 
that no creed offers us that true felicity which 
springs only from knowledge of the innate neces- 
sities of our natural laws. As things are now no 
man, whoever he may be, whether Christian, Turk, 
Jew, or heathen, is really recognized as such, but 
only judged according to his manners and customs, 
because he goes to this or that church, clings to 
this or that expression, or swears by the words of 
this or that master. The only decisive measure at 


last of all is individual character. That is why the 
professors of one and the same creed, ay, often the 
professors of one and the same philosophical system, 
incline to such different forms of individual and 
social life. As for Judaism now, it recognizes a 
godly life quite independent of the revelation of 
the law. Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were all 
esteemed godly, though they lived long before the 
revelation on Sinai. Moses, by means of his sub- 
lime and divine gifts, gave the law to the people as 
a right, as a constitution. This is destroyed. The 
primeval right to found divine laws on individual 
recognition appears in Judaism too with universal 

" The Jews always appear to me as a remarkable 
phenomenon of history," said Meyer. " The Jews 
must exist as long as there is a dogmatic religion 
in the world. The wonderful tenacity with which 
they have endured the most fearful blows of fate 
must prove that their mission is not yet fulfilled, 
and that in the course of history they will once 
more be a mighty lever." 

" Such abnormal developments please you," said 
Oldenburg, and Spinoza replied: 

" Nothing is abnormal; everything has its defi- 
nite cause, from which it must arise necessarily and 
logically in its destined order. If the ordinances 
of their religion did not rob them of their man- 
liness, I should unhesitatingly affirm that the Jews, 



as is quite possible in the whirling wheel of human 
affairs, would one day, when the opportunity oc- 
curred, again obtain their kingdom, and God would 
choose them anew. We have an example in the 
Chinese, who have again won their kingdom. But 
the mission of the Jews is fulfilled. There is nothing 
wonderful in their preservation; it is only the 
hatred of all nations that has preserved them, and 
they have set themselves apart from all nations by 
their customs. These customs may disappear like 
all other laws of ceremonial, which have only a 
local signification, and the hatred of the nations 
may change to love." 

" I should be proud to be a Jew," said Meyer. 
*' He is born in such decided opposition to all 
commonplace, and in himself represents exactly the 
schism which now rends the heart of humanity. 
The free Jew, who has cut loose from his own 
already torn traditions is the only unbiassed 
stranger in the world, armed with all the weapons 
of the masculine intellect, and yet with the un- 
clouded eyes of childhood, capable of examining 
and surveying the world as given in history; a 
privilege and a freedom none other can attain to 
as easily. We others have too much share in the 
ruling of the world, and too much partiality for 
and familiarity with it. And already in the great 
current of history it is seen that the renewing of 
the whole world has not been done by the domi- 
nate. \-- 


nant nations. Neither a Greek nor a Roman pro- 
duced the new world-saving doctrine; it came from 
the despised, oppressed people, who were shut out 
from the world's current. In ancient times men 
lived in perfect uniformity of faith; the religion 
was the constitution, the constitution was the re- 
ligion. It was so in Rome and Athens, in Egypt 
and China, and most perfectly so in Palestine. 
With the destruction of the Jewish state and the 
entrance of Christianity originated religion as such, 
for it was then first cut loose from the state. 
There were henceforward two powers who took 
men in charge, and robbed them of uniformity, 
the State and the Church. Christianity has till 
now, by the papal power, endeavored to reunite 
the two; the power of the Pope is now broken, the 
old division is again there. Christianity does not 
assign the constitution." 

"I think we have exchanged the roles," replied 
Spinoza; "Christianity does not apply to nations 
and States, but to humanity, to all mankind, to 
make them internally free; it could never be an 
external law. By means of our recognition of our 
natural laws we can and must regulate State and 
Church; in both we must leave room for the in- 
vestigating minds who bring everything in ques- 
tion, otherwise we again lay our freedom under the 
bonds of external laws. The religious and political 
additions made to Christianity from time to time 



have only been temporary. When Christ says, 
' Whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, 
turn to him the other also ' (a rule of behavior that 
is also given in the Lamentations of Jeremiah), it 
can only refer to a time of oppression and lawless- 
ness; otherwise it is according to reason and duty 
to give him who giveth thee a blow two in return; 
or to bring him who would sue thee at the law to 
justice, that the rogues may not make a success- 
ful game of their roguery." 

"With such views as these," said Oldenburg, 
" I should not long hesitate in acknowledging my- 
self of the Christian religion; you need not do it 
from conviction of the dogmas. Therefore if I were 
you I should join the larger and more cultivated 
majority, who have moreover the greatest power of 
influencing the history of their time. It is not 
vanity in a man to have an ugly excrescence removed 
from his face; he only fulfils his duty to others and 
himself by removing everything detrimental." 

"And I," said Meyer, "would neither respect 
nor value you from that day forward; you would 
be a traitor to yourself. But I hear you are in love 
with the saintly Olympia. What a universally 
tolerant young lady that is ! First she had a 
Catholic, and then a Protestant, for lovers; now 
she has a Jew, and, I presume, in Kerkering a 
Lutheran, as co-admirers; if she has done with you 
both I will charter her a Turk." 



"Jest and mockery are your original sins," re- 
plied Spinoza gravely; "but I request that you will 
speak with respect of Olympia." 

" Ah ! the learned Olympia !" laughed Meyer, 
" she can conjugate anio perfectly m the preterit; 
but I must be grave. First a painter, who lived 
for two months in these rooms, was bewitched by 
her. He was a very young man of great talent 
and overflowing vivacity. I used to go very often 
to the Van den Ende's house myself then, and con- 
fess that I had not a little to do with Van den 
Spyck's severing the connection. But if I had 
known beforehand what would result I would have 
had no hand in it, for Van den Spyck took to 
drinking, and sank lower and lower till he could 
stay here no longer, but now wanders unsteadily 
about the world. Both Van den Spyck and Olym- 
pia turned their anger on me, so I went no more 
to my old colleague's house. Olympia's second 
lover was her music-master; he swam perpetually 
in clear melody, and was never to be seen without 
a music-book under his arm, and wherever he went 
or stayed his fingers moved as if he were playing 
the organ. I believe he came into the world with 
a sheet of music under his arm, and that his first 
cry was in D major. Ah ! he revelled with Olym- 
pia in the kingdom of tones. It was the bass 
voice of her father that drove him out of Paradise. 
Imagine the bathos ! The man should at least 


have made a finale with a pistol-shot. Cruel ! not a 
week passed before the musical key opened another 
lock, and he was engaged to the daughter of the 
director of the concert hall. He succeeded to his 
father-in-law's post, and now lives a comfortable 
citizen 'andante' with his musical better half. I 
shall see now what will become of you." 

Spinoza walked moodily up and down the room, 
with the same feelings as when Chisdai defiled 
the fair image of Olympia with such bigoted zeal. 

"I can't understand you," said Oldenburg; "in- 
deed you delude yourself if you think you love 
her. Your peace of mind and self-concentration in 
thoughts that have no reference to love would be 
impossible if the true fire of passion burned in your 

"Do you know all the peculiarities of love in 
different individuals, that you speak so decidedly 
on the subject ?" asked Spinoza. 

"I know love; and even if I were more pas- 
sionate than many others, still I know its eternal 
origin, which is and must be the same with every 
one. My acquaintance with Olympia dates from my 
own love-story. Maria was a friend of Olympia's. 
No man ever loved more truly than I. I looked 
with pity and scorn on ordinary men, who from day 
to day could think of other things, follow a favorite 
profession, study physic, prepare enactments, or 
write commercial letters; and then, when the day's 



work was finished, or a Sunday stood in the calen- 
dar, take a walk with the beloved one. These ex- 
cellent, self-contained souls, how narrow and cold 
they seemed to me, who thought no other thoughts, 
and felt no other feeling but love alone. I had won 
a new soul with an unalterable sameness, for the 
one perpetual thought was of her and of her alone. 
When I drew the sweet breath of Maria's presence, 
or remained in my distant home, her soul was al- 
ways with me. Wherever I was I thought. Soon she 
will be here with thee; thou wilt call her thine own. 
I often trembled at the infinite, overwhelming mag- 
nitude of this happiness. It was too great; I could 
not have borne it. I was shamefully deceived in my 
love and in my better feelings. Love another ! I 
cannot and dare not wish to. If it is denied me to 
pour out my soul in that first fiery passion, I despise 
any well-behaved citizen love. I am glad that I am 
too old to be exposed to such another temptation. 
I have found a sphere of usefulness, and peace is 
in that." 

" Marriage is a sacred and eternal law of nature," 
replied Spinoza. " It is the fairest crown of human- 
ity, if it is made from pure inclination recognized 
by reason." 

" I will not attack matrimony," answered Olden- 
burg, " but the curse that rests on mankind the 
more it develops is that it is always more and more 
impossible to partake of the pleasure exactly when 


nature requires it. What are art, science and in- 
dustry ? May they all be destroyed if mankind is 
not to—" 

" He can live according to nature," interrupted 
Spinoza, "who has early learned to master his pas- 
sions, and to act in accordance with the eternal laws 
of reason. For this they should not appear as ex- 
ternal and arbitrary, otherwise the power of the 
passions will often win in the conflict. But if, by 
our recognition of the law of reason, we have seen 
the worthlessness of all power and all indulgence 
of the passions, we shall lead such a life as our true 
nature exacts." 

"It is not given to every man," answered Olden-* 
burg, " to turn his back on the world, or rather to 
hover above it all in the heaven of his own con- 
sciousness. There are wild and stormy spirits who, 
by mere happy indifference, retain their enjoyment 
in this world of weighty trifles, of necessary tyranny, 
and can be kept from madness and despair." 

In a mild tone Spinoza led the conversation to its 
source again by saying: 

" I do not turn my back on the world as you 
think; I fully enjoy it in my own way." 

" And you deceive yourself if you think you will 
enjoy it more with Olympia." 

" Oldenburg, you have too high-flown notions of 
matrimony," remarked Meyer. " Believe me, I now 
have a second wife, and live in great contentment. 



Men are neither so happy in marriage as fancy 
hopes, nor so unhappy as it fears. I knew my 
second wife but little before our marriage. We 
learned to know each other and accommodate our- 
selves to one another afterwards. What men dream 
about harmony of minds is not practicable. My 
wife, for example, is truly pious, and yet we live 
united. Indeed, I should not like her not to be so. 
That quiet faith gives women a special charm. I 
have two fine, healthy boys, a well-ordered house- 
hold, and may say that I live happily." 

" You know I respect and honor Olympia," said 
Oldenburg, " but I must advise you against a 
union with her. I interfere in the affair most un- 
willingty, and would give it up now, if I did not 
know your enviable power of keeping yourself pure 
and uninfluenced by all opposition. Let yourself 
be dissuaded. It is not Olympia's first love affair. 
The first dew of heaven is gone, her lips have al- 
ready kissed others, her heart has already throbbed 
for another, and — you must not be angry with me 
for saying it — what you feel for her is not true 
love; otherwise you could not possibly act with this 
peaceful equanimity." 

** I must, however, repeat," replied Spinoza, "that 
there is nothing truly desirable which reasonable 
deliberation cannot comprehend as thoroughly and 
more permanently than enthusiasm and unre- 
strained passion." 


"Something else occurs to me," said Meyer. 
" Would it be, to express it from a legal point of 
view, permissible for Jews and Christians to inter- 
marry ?" 

" No Rabbi on earth could bring forward an 
absolute prohibition. Christians are, from a Jewish 
point of view, merely regarded as a Jewish sect. 
That their numerical power in the course of events 
has become greater makes no difference to the fact. 
We have sects among the Jews, even individual 
Talmudists, who consider faith in a Messiah as im- 
material and not among the necessary laws of their 
religion. A union between Jews and Christians 
cannot be forbidden." 

"As long as such intermarriages are unusual," 
resumed Meyer, " the detestation connected with 
the name of Jew will not be generally uprooted. I 
could almost be in favor of this union. It would 
seem so glorious to me to be the Jewish redeemer 
in this case. But no, you must not only be a Jew, 
you must remain a bachelor. It is only thus that 
you fulfil your mission. Whoever takes upon him- 
self family ties and social obligations, his straight- 
forward, strictly logical orderings of life and thought 
are split up and interrupted. Distraction and inter- 
ruption enter of necessity, and I can already see in 
my own profession what it is to let my thoughts be 
turned hither and thither by the thousand changing 
chances of life, The steady, uninterrupted stream 


between the thinking mind and the one thought 
which you set before you is thus perpetually crossed 
and interrupted; the natural heat flows away, cools, 
and must perpetually be relighted. So congratu- 
late yourself that you are born a Jew, and are a 
bachelor by fate and free-will." 

For the first time Spinoza was glad when his 
two friends took leave. Of all the inclinations of 
man love of woman is the most like faith. Its true 
foundation is only in the individual personality, 
whose precise view of the case, known to no other, 
makes it sacrilege to interfere. Why should Spinoza 
be possessed by a love which was in such opposi- 
tion to the world, and therefore gave every one, and 
especially his friends, a right to pry into it ? A less 
steadfast and unworldly because less truth-loving 
nature would have had his softer sentiments de- 
stroyed by such encroachments, and have become 
bitter against his friends, or self-distrustful. 
Spinoza learned by his clear intelligence to acquire 
here too that devotion which men usually ascribe 
to the direct influence of sentiment. 



A HEART accustomed to suppress all stormy 
ebullitions, to gain the even pulsation and 
moderation of expression that is as far removed 
from dull stupidity as from extremes of joy and 
sorrow, in such a life we do not meet with dizzy 
heights or dark depths that fill the sympathetic 
spectator sometimes with painful horror at the 
threatened ruin, and sometimes with quiet satisfac- 
tion at the safety gained. 

Our hero has not lost himself for love of a woman, 
but his better life is endangered by it. He has no 
one to fight with but with himself, with his natural 
and acquired relations. Such noiseless combat, 
however, excites the pulses of the internal powers 
all the more that it is wanting in the tangible 
opposition that rouses combativeness. No visible 
kingdom will be revolutionized by the rise and fall 
of our hero, but a kingdom of the mind, with wide- 
spreading influence, is brought into jeopardy. In 
the quiet, unadorned garret in the Kalverstraat, Am- 
sterdam, the conflict will be decided. 

Work and quiet contemplation alone are what 
we shall observe. By earliest dawn we find our 


philosopher awake at his bench. He has again, as 
Frau Gertrui expresses it, *' taken the day in the 
eye ;" he smiles at this remark, perhaps it means 
something else to him. If the wheel and the pen- 
cil are silent the room is as quiet as the grave, the 
world is shut out. 

What raises expectation in his face to-day, and 
why does he look so often at the window corner ? 

He does not live so much alone as we supposed. 
He has a companion in a cell made by itself in a 
corner of his room, for whose daily bread he has to 
provide. Look, he has caught a fly; he takes his 
microscope, and going to the window throws the 
captured animal into the web. We too will look 
through the microscope; perhaps we shall be able 
thus to follow the observations of the philosopher. 

Look how the lonely spider springs out of its 
den. In spite of its eight eyes its sense of sight 
must be imperfect, for it does not get out of the 
way, however near an object is placed to it; but it 
must have exceedingly fine sensation, for it feels 
the slightest movement of the net. Or, perhaps, 
the net still retains a living link with its spinner ? 
Look how swiftly it throws itself on the struggling 
prey, surrounds it with long hairy legs, squeezes it 
and kisses it with the strong proboscis. " That is 
right, guard yourself, bravely done, but the web ! 
The next crash it is through. There ! the hind 
feet folded on the back and prepared for flight. 



Alas ! the left wing is torn, it cannot get away, and 
the devouring enemy is again approaching; now it 
is seized and carried off to the den. It is all over; 
it pulls the feet out, and spins its fine web fast all 
round; it has broken the head from the trunk and 
sucks the inside out. What comfortable enjoy- 
ment ! How it refreshes itself ! Then it pauses, and 
then sets to again to gnaw, as if it knew that it 
was a higher providential power that sent the 
cooked pigeon flying into its mouth. The spider 
certainly thinks the whole race of flies was created 
for its bepefit, and everything is good in so far as 
it is of the nature of fiy, and fills the pouch of the 
spider. Now it looks as if it prayed to me. Or 
are the wind and the broom its idols, since it has 
experienced that they can lay its house in ruins ? 
There, it is finished; the bare skeleton is all that is 
lying there ; it creeps back still further into its 
corner; its work is ended, since it is satisfied." 

The philosopher laid the microscope aside, took 
up the Bible lying before him, opened at Chap. xxx. 
of the Proverbs of Solomon and read: '' Two things 
have I required of thee; deny me them not before I 
die: Remove far from me vanity and lies; give me 
neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food con- 
venient for me ": . . .*' There be four things which 
are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding 
wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they 
prepare their meat in the summer; the conies are 



but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the 
rocks; the locusts have no king, yet go they forth 
all of them by bands; the spider taketh hold with 
her hands and is in kings* palaces." 

The Bible explains in its own way nature and 
her propensities, human history and its own wars 
of extermination. Everywhere an endless succes- 
sive war of destruction. Force rules in nature, in- 
nocent of motive, and in the kingdom of nature 
might and right are one, and men have fixed laws 
to protect them from one another, and these laws 
again only derive their influence from their legiti- 
mate power; the divine privilege of man, however, 
is to be a law unto himself in conscious comprehen- 
sion of his own nature, which prescribes him peace 
with himself and the world. In the name of these 
given laws, divine and human, thousands condemn 
and devour each other, and what should unite them 
divides them. Will it ever be possible to establish 
the power of the law on virtue and love ? 

Let us congratulate ourselves that to-day we are 
fortunate enough to find Spinoza undisturbed, for 
yesterday he had to sustain a sharp conflict. Frau 
Gertrui came to the door with a broom, just as he 
was laughing aloud at the fight of a fat bluebottle 
with the spider. 

"Do the Jews too think the spiders bring luck ?" 
she asked. "You are so orderly, just the opposite 
in that of the blessed Magister, of which I am truly 


glad. I will not kill the spider— God forbid — only- 
drive it away. I am quite ashamed when the good 
gentlemen come to see you; what will they think? 
It must be a fine housekeeper that never brushes 
the spiders' webs away." 

For a neat Dutchwoman, in her care for the 
blank cleanliness of her house, you cannot easily 
find a greater enemy than a spider. It was very 
unwillingly that Frau Gertrui set any limits to her 
zeal for scouring. It was no use the philosopher 
explaining how very clean spiders were; and she 
was not even pacified by Spinoza telling her he 
would explain to all his visitors that it was he who 
kept the webs there. She maintained, moreover, 
that he could not be a true Dutchman if he could 
live in a room with a spider's web. 

Let us see, meanwhile, how he ends his day. 
Till night he worked and then jotted down his 
worked-out thoughts on paper. He had strained 
both head and hands this day and felt the need of 
speech. He took his lamp in his hand and went 
down to his landlord. When he entered the room 
Klaas and Gertrui were sitting at the table with 
folded hands; their grandson, Albert Burgh, was 
reading the evening prayers aloud. Spinoza sat 
down in a corner till the prayers were finished, 
then drew his chair to the table and conversed with 
the rest. Klaas complained that the new fashions 
ruined everything; the button-makers were gradu- 



ally losing their livelihood because smaller and 
fewer buttons were worn. Spinoza had consola- 
tion for everything, and the people felt much com- 
forted by his conversation. 

"Tell me," asked Klaas, *'how it is — you are not 
old in years and have not seen much of the world — 
how is it you know so well and so quickly what is 
in the hearts of common men ? Before we had 
been a week here I felt as if we had eaten a bushel 
of salt together." 

Spinoza explained that the human heart is the 
same in all circumstances, and that he who really 
knows himself can judge of and understand aright 
the movements of the hearts of other men in other 

" When you speak like that," said Frau Gertrui, 
"my mind feels as Sunday-like as if I were listen- 
ing to a sermon; the blessed Domine Plancius used 
to preach just like you in the Oudekerk. Did he 
not, Klaas ? I have often said so. Our dear Herr 
von Spinoza has such a Christian mind; he has 
nothing of the Jew about him; he is not a bit like 
the other Jews, and he is not a Jew." 

" Geert, when your tongue is set going it chatters 
on whether it is wise or stupid," said Klaas. " You 
must not take it ill of her, sir; she does not mean ill." 

"You know well enough how it is meant; I only 
say you are not what the Jews are; so — so — well, 
you know what I mean," 


"Oh, yes; and I am not vexed at all." 

"Each one stick to his creed," said Klaas, "and 
he who is brave and upright may be saved by any 
faith; all men are God's children." 

"But you are a child of the devil," said little 
Albert, who had been listening quietly to Spinoza; 
"you have crucified our Saviour, and will go to 

Klaas stretched across the table and would have 
boxed the boy's ears; Frau Gertrui and Spinoza 
prevented him. 

"Stupid child!" said the former; "this gentle- 
man did not do it; others did it who have had their 
reward long ago." 

Spinoza took the struggling boy on his knee and 
explained to him that it was no sin to be a Jew, 
since Christ and his apostles were Jews. The 
Jews had certainly not done right to slay Christ on 
the cross, but things had gone ill enough with them, 
and men cannot do penance forever for a fault. 

" By your leave," said Klaas, " you have not quite 
the right view of it. Our Saviour was obliged to 
die on the cross because it was foreordained of God 
the Father, and he could only become our Saviour 
by so doing. * 

" Even according to this Calvinistic view," re- 
plied Spinoza, " the Jews were still more innocent. 
You must never believe, dear Albert, that God 
would damn a man forever." 



On this last poiftt also he had to maintain a con- 
troversy with Klaas, and especially on the passage 
in the Bible, " The Son of Man goeth as it is written 
of him; but woe unto that man by whom the Son 
of Man is betrayed ! It had been good for that 
man if he had not been born !" (Matt. xxvi. 24). 
But the dispute ended quietly. 

" Why have you not a great beard ?" asked Albert 
shyly, stroking Spinoza's chin; "in your country 
all men have long beards." 

" In my country ? Where do you think I was 
born ?" 

" In Jerusalem, or do you come from Nazareth ? 
Oh, tell me something about it; it must be so lovely 

" I do not come from Canaan, my dear boy. I 
was born here in Amsterdam, as you were also." 

"That is a lie; you are a Jew. Is he not, grand- 
father ? The Jews all come from Canaan." 

"Not for a long time now; they have been with 
us for longer than we can remember; and when 
the Saviour comes again and begins his thousand 
years' reign he will take all the Jews back to Pales- 

" Then I should like to be a Jew too. I want to 
go with him." 

"Be glad you are not one, boy," said Spinoza; 
"we have long to wait for the millennium." 

" What was your father called ?" 



" But he was not Jacob's youngest son. Jacob 
was a nice man. I should have been ashamed to 
have him for a grandfather; he deceived his brother 
Esau and his father-in-law Laban, and his de- 
scendants stole the Egyptians' gold and silver." 

" Be so good as to give the boy a couple of sound 
slaps for me," said Klaas. 

"Not I," answered Spinoza. *' He is a little Bi- 
ble hero. But don't forget, child, neither with 
Egyptian gold nor with Christ's crucifixion have 
the Jews anything more to do; and you must al- 
ways remember that the apostles, too, were Jews." 

" Geert, put the boy to bed, or else we shall 
never get rid of him.'' For once a highly reasona- 
ble speech of Klaas Ufmsand. Spinoza with diffi- 
culty obtained a hand from little Albert, but dare 
not kiss him for the world. For some time longer 
Spinoza sat talking with Master Klaas till he 
yawned more and more frequently and openly, 
then they separated. 

" You have come to a capital punishment," said 
Spinoza one day at noon to Oldenburg, as he en- 
tered. " In that box I have been starving a folio 
edition of a garden spider for several days, and 
there is another empty wretch. I too have a talent 
for diplomacy, and mean to set a war of extermina- 
tion going." 

He half filled a bowl with water, unscrewed a 



flat plate from the work-bench, placed it in the 
vessel, and the two spiders on the leaden island. 
Each of the spectators armed himself with a micro- 

" Look," said Spinoza; " if there is a spirit wholly- 
independent of the world hovering over it it is 
thus that he would watch, as we are now doing, 
over the little conflicts on the earth." 

"We must give the two sides names," said Olden- 
burg. " The garden spider shall be Alexander, the 
other Darius. Look ! Alexander sends out his 
scouts far and wide; Darius flies, but it is of no use, 
the sea surrounds him. Both pause for a while, 
but Alexander arises and presses forward. Look, 
how he throws his arms round his adversary, but 
he defends himself vigorously; now they rise to the 
conflict. How they seize and squeeze each other, 
how their probosces tear at one another ! If I 
could only see their eyes properly. Bravo ! Alex- 
ander is down, but his long arms press powerfjjlly 
against the scaly breast of his adversary. Now he 
has torn himself loose. Look how he rushes with 
fresh courage to choke his enemy! His fall was only 
ä Parthian flight; now is the time. Oh, it is all 
over, they are letting each other go." 

" Be quiet," said Spinoza. " That is only a truce, 
and if it were sworn to by all the gods, they would 
break it like men as soon as they had gathered 
strength for a new fight. Am I not right in assert- 


ing that everything depends on the standpoint and 
position of the pupil ? The buffalo mangling the 
grim tiger with his horns till he lies crushed to 
death before him is not greater than this spider in 
fight. Nothing is in itself great, nothing in itself 
small, only, because it appears so to us, we would 
make it so. If men were not curbed by higher 
reason, and allowed themselves to be governed only 
by their ruling passions, they would destroy each 
other like these animals." 

'' Indeed this combat is as great as those of men. 
When in war a thousand fiery messengers send out 
death, when the ground trembles and the swords 
flash, drenching themselves in the blood of men, 
we feel so great in our scorn of death, so almighty 
in the exercise of strength, we think we could stir 
the world from its axis, and what is it ? A little 
ant-hill's inhabitants fighting with grasshoppers — " 

" The eternal peace has already come to its mortal 
end," interrupted Spinoza. " Look how they whet 
their weapons, now bravely at it again !" 

The two friends watched the result of the com- 
bat without further conversation. Oldenburg had 
not given the parties their right names, for the gar- 
den spider after a short resistance was devoured 
by the other, head and hair and all. Darius was 
borne in triumph on the leaden island to where he 
had spun himself a royal tent. 

" Ordinary life has many turns and twists of deep 


signification," said Oldenburg. " Of two people 
who pursue each other with inextinguishable hatred 
we say they are enemies like spiders." 

"Your lord and master, Descartes," said Spinoza, 
" could have learned a great deal from these spi- 
ders. He would probably have then not brought 
forward a false proof of a true thing. He tries to 
prove the existence of God from the fact that we, 
who have an idea of him, exist. He takes two 
axioms to prove this. Firstly, 'That which can 
perform the greater and more difficult can also 
perform the lesser and less difficult.* Secondly, 
' It is greater to create and preserve the substance 
than the attributes and qualities of the substance.' 
I do not know what he means by that. What does 
he call easy, what difficult ? Nothing is absolutely 
easy or difficult in itself, but can only be called so 
with regard to its cause. We want no other ex- 
ample but this spider; with very little trouble it 
spins a web that men could not make without very 
great difficulty. On the other hand men do many 
things with ease that would perhaps be impossible 
to angels. What can be called absolutely easy or 
difficult ? It would in this way be easily imaginable 
that men may exist without necessarily supposing 
the existence of God. But the existence of God, as 
we have said, follows necessarily and consequently 
on the idea of him." 

Spinoza held a lengthier discussion with Olden- 


burg on the subject. We have remained long 
enough in the house of Klaas Ufmsand, and will 
pause until we can again conduct Benedict to 
Olympia. There our story is quite in another 



KERKERING had clasped Olympia's hand, and 
prayed Cecilia in a jesting tone to be his 
godmother if he became a Catholic. He did not 
let loose her hand when Spinoza entered, in spite 
of Olympia's efforts. Spinoza stared in astonish- 
ment. Olympia blushed, she snuffed the candle, 
and, during the short interval of darkness, quite 
recovered herself, and gave Spinoza a lecture on his 
prolonged absence. 

"I cannot understand," she said, "how a man 
of your age can immure himself so in a cell. Frau 
Gertrui told me that you had not been down stairs 
for the last ten days, and that you had, moreover, 
used a pound and a half of oil in your nightly 
studies. You might become a monk or a hermit 
without any self-sacrifice. It is a pity you are not 
a Catholic." 

''■ I regret it equally; to put off the old man is 
easy enough, but to draw the old on anew is diffi- 
cult." . 

Olympia was silent. Kerkering looked puzzled; 
he used all his powers of mind, but could not 
rightly understand what lay behind these words. 


" It is provoking," Olympia began again, " that 
we women must perpetually go in leading-strings, 
and never dare manage to be free. I cannot help 
wishing to see the room for one minute that makes 
the whole world unnecessary to you. Take care; 
I have settled it all with Gertrui. Next time you 
are not at home I shall come and examine every- 
thing. I must find the arcanum that can keep you 
so much to itself. You must have something ex- 
traordinary there; day by day polishing glass and 
studying, studying and polishing glass. Always 
alone, not even an organ or a lute near you; no 
one could endure it. But I shall find out the secret 

"This time it is my turn," answered Spinoza, 
*' to deny you a sixth sense. If you seek through 
everything you are certain to overlook a companion 
whose heart glows for me, and whose warm breath 
I inhale with pleasure. But alas ! this faithful 
companion is evanescent and frail, like all things 

"Oh, you fanatical and godless smoker! But in 
your place I would really leave off smoking. It is 
only an artificial taste, an imaginary pleasure." 

" After music nothing refreshes a weary spirit 
like a pipe of the American weed. Like the waves 
of sound in music here the waves of smoke float 
around us and smooth over all that is ruffled in us. 
When I easily and silently take a long puff at the 


pipe, keep the ethereal draught a moment in my 
mouth, and then let it stream out in a light breath, 
it flatters and soothes my mouth and lips as a soft 
melody does my ears. You know well enough the 
ill effect of that damp cold grey on grey painted 
weather. That, if I may so call it, prickly feeling 
of discomfort, which then pervades our whole be- 
ing, I can chase that away much better when I am 
surrounded by a cloud of tobacco smoke. I make 
myself independent of the influence of the weather, 
and when I watch the fleeting play of the smoke 
wreaths my mind gains in breadth and I feel my- 
self so delightfully peaceful and enlightened." 

"Glorious !" cried Olympia; " now, for once, I see 
you as an enthusiast." 

" I must become enthusiastic to make you un- 
derstand the worth of anything that you cannot try 
for yourself." 

"What a pity it is you never knew my Uncle 

" Let the dead rest in peace," said Cecilia, who 
sat reading in the window. " What do you want 
with our blessed uncle ?" 

" It does not matter disturbing his rest a little in 
the other world; he had too much rest in this life 
and was always ill in consequence." 

Cecilia did not answer, but during the ensuing 
conversation she retired unnoticed into the next 


"Was your uncle, too, a priest of tobacco's vestal 
fire?" asked Spinoza. 

"I remember quite well now a sermon he 
preached five years ago in the church of St. John. 
He was a zealous opponent of tobacco in both 
forms. ' They have noses, and smell not,' he cried 
with the psalmist from the pulpit; 'they have 
mouths, and taste not' " 

"'And speak not,' saith David," corrected Spi- 
noza; but Olympia continued undisturbed: 

"They offer their bodies to Moloch and Baal. 
Each one from early morning smokes his calf's, 
ox's, or sheep's tongue, and the vapor rises from 
his mouth like the reek of a sacrifice. That is why 
their tongues are dry when they should pray an 
'Ave Maria.' They hourly chew the leaves of this 
plant of sin, as if it were heavenly manna that 
tasted like coriander in honeycomb; and in a 
while they tickle their noses with the stinking weed 
that Beelzebub sowed so that they can no longer 
smell the delightful odor of church incense. Woe ! 
woe unto this Babylon, this Sodom and Gomorrah ! 
But one day they will find their true reward, and 
will smoke merrily in hell, where there is wailing 
and gnashing of teeth; and those who have tickled 
their noses will be salted with the leviathan and the 
other monsters in the depths of the lower world. 
The Lord preserve you from such chastisement. 
Amen !" 



" Bravo !" cried Spinoza. "Pathos suits you ex- 
cellently; you are a living concordance to the 

"Many thanks," said Olympia roguishly; "do 
you agree with me that the priests are so zealous 
against tobacco because they are afraid of Ancyra ?" 

" Not quite, for I think that they will for long 
and long enough preach the same thing from the 
pulpit, while the domines themselves, between each 
of their saving phrases, will take a pinch of snuff 
from the gilt box on the reading desk of their pul- 
pit. My Peter Blyning always says, when he takes 
a pinch fasting in the morning, that it is his spirit- 
ual breakfast." 

"It occurs to me now," said Olympia: "do you 
know the horrible treatise of the wise King Solo- 
mon ?" 

"I know all the writings of Solomon, but I hope 
you do not call the * Preacher,* or the * Song of 
Songs,' horrible, and wish to banish it from the 
canon like the old Fathers of the Church !" 

" Oh, no ! I mean something quite different. My 
Solomon, indeed, the Presbyterians now leave to 
roast and steam in hell for punishment of his pro- 
phetic zeal; what grimaces he will make! I will 
be with you again, gentlemen, in a minute." She 
took a light from the table and went out, singing as 
she went. 

" What a wonderful, enigmatical girl !" said 


Kerkering, as he sat near Spinoza in the darkness. 
"She is as learned as if she had ten professors in 
her pocket. When I hear her talk like that I feel 
as if — as if — I don't know what; I would rather be 
quite still, and only wish that she would go on 
talking forever. I cannot keep up with her; you 
are the man for her." 

" Are you of that opinion too ?" responded Spi- 
noza, and a light broke in on the darkness to Ker- 

" ' The people that walked in darkness saw a 
great light ! ' How does pathos suit me, Herr von 
Spinoza?" said Olympia, entering with a large book 
under her arm. " Please excuse me. I did not see 
that Cecilia had gone away, or I would not have 
left you in darkness." 

" A double light appears with you," said Kerker- 
ing, perhaps referring to Spinoza's late disclosure. 
Olympia thanked him and opened the book. 

" I think I have found something in which I can 
still be your teacher. Know then, that King James 
I. of England was called Solomon the Wise, and 
here is his horrible canonical treatise, ''De Peccato 
Mortali Fumandi Nicotiafiam' Are you ready for 
death, Herr von Spinoza?" 

She then read a passage from the book. 

"If the pious king had only known," said Olym- 
pia, " that now a man would rule over England, 
named Oliver Cromwell, who carries his BiJDle in his 



sword-hilt, and yet commits the deadly sin of smok- 
ing cigars all day long ! I am delighted, however, 
to have found your weak point at last." 

"You knew that long ago," replied Spinoza, 
and Kerkering nodded, and bit his lips in mental 

"You are very unjust to music," said Olympia, 
" when you compare it with your hobby. Your 
Descartes knew that music gave us many problems 
to solve; his book * Compendium Musices' fascinated 
me very much. But the creation of music and its 
effects cannot be calculated and demonstrated in 
numbers. And yet music has some resemblance to 
mathematics, in that men created numbers, which 
did not exist in the world, but were imagined. And 
men created music, to which there was no parallel 
in the known world." 

"The sounds we hear ?" 

" They have nothing to do with it. That men 
created and imagined a whole kingdom of inex- 
haustible sensations by tones makes music a mira- 
cle of the human mind as much as mathematics." 

" Music moves in a course, uncircumscribed by 
fixed definitions," remarked Spinoza. 

" How cold that sounds ! When I shut my eyes 
and listen to good music I best comprehend my- 
self, and men and circumstances that were before 
confused become clear to me. "Imagine in harmony 
the spectacle of an endless succession of imprisoned 


and struggling souls, of whom some complain, sigh 
and bewail, while others carol, cheer, languish and 
storm; soon they are united, and in infinite variety 
express the same thought, then are mute. Again 
one awakes, rises and dies gently and happily. A 
band again join and rage and roar, the others 
hasten past, the dead are aroused, till at last peace 
settles on all." 

" Your explanation is so imaginative," said 
Spinoza, "that it convinces me more than ever that 
music is the art of the emotions, and, indeed, moves 
in the sensations like elements without a definite 
object. Anger, pain, and joy, hate and love are 
evinced as elementary sensations without a tangible 
object. I will not reject such absorptions, but I 
find it enough to do to understand the sensations 
which are tangible, and thereby if possible to con- 
trol them." 

" And I tell you," maintained Olympia, " your 
whole philosophy is a philosophy of music. Oh, if 
I could only express what I mean properly. You 
once explained to me that the peace of society de- 
pended on each one resigning, for reciprocity's sake, 
something of the natural rights in accordance with 
which man may do all that he is able, that self-pre- 
servation may become the protection of all. Now 
that is the law of musical harmony. One note 
struck alone would be quite different and sharply 
defined; but if it passes into harmony it must re- 





sign somewhat of its nature that the notes may flow 
into harmony with one another, one after another 
rising and falling." 

Spinoza looked at Olympia with sparkling eyes. 
How she treasured his words, and sought to bring 
them within her own mental sphere. He had no 
time to follow out his thought, that this view might 
be applied to their personal connection. For after 
a pause Olympia continued with this strange di- 

"I cannot help being annoyed, that while such 
extraordinary progress has been made in your art 
that the stars can be brought quite close to our 
sense of sight, why have not instruments been made 
to strengthen our hearing ? How glorious it would 
be if we could hear the music of the spheres that 
Dante describes so divinely." 

" If we accepted it as a fact that the stars move 
with rhythmical sound, it would do but little for 
our intelligence to hear them." 

"Intelligence then is the measure of everything? 
Is not enjoyment desirable in itself ? You must 
confess that no regular movement exists without 
rhythmical sound, from which I have drawn a very 
odd conclusion, which I will tell you, if you will 
promise not to laugh at me." 

" I promise that, for I am curious to hear what 
conclusion seems so odd to you." 

" Half a year ago my father told me that an 



English physician, named William Harvey, had dis- 
covered the circulation of the blood and its laws. 
I am convinced that as the movement of the heart 
makes a sound that we can hear, the movement of 
the blood in our veins must make a sound too, but 
one which we can very seldom hear. In times 
when we are perfectly healthy we are in perfect 
harmony, in times of sickness we are discordant. 
I told my father that the ringing we have in our 
ears must surely be a note that has broken loose 
from the general harmony. My father considers 
rather that it was an acoustic illusion when we 
thought we heard such sounds, but I cannot accept 
that view. You see there is really a great truth 
contained in the common saying that we can hear 
the grass grow. All through nature there is regu- 
lar movement of moisture, and wherever there is 
movement there is sound and tone. Among the 
stars, in the depths of the earth, and on the surface, 
there is an eternal murmur and swell and clash. 
Music is the soul of the universe, is our soul. All 
is in million-voiced harmony, and the articulation 
given to man is its divinest revelation." 

Olympia's expression of countenance grew 
brighter and brighter, and Spinoza said: 

" You see I do not laugh at you. I am glad you 
evaded so well your father's view of it, which yet 
you so nearly agreed with. I will not allow myself 
to judge so hastily of your theory." 

PECULIARITIES. \ ^ "^ P" >ifyi- ^-f 

" Why must men's partialities be so dufcrent'^ha^ W^^ , 
they can hardly understand one another ?" a$k^d'7" ^ ■ «^ 
Olympia, and Spinoza replied: ^^ ^^.. 

"So that we should only try to convince each 
other on merely intellectual subjects; where this 
ends persecution for heresy begins. You are cer- 
tainly right in your own appreciation of music, and 
in your love of it; but music is an example of how 
in matters of faith, of imagination in a word, where 
no fixed definition is afforded by intellectual proof, 
fanaticism and persecution so readily prevail. Men 
always become passionate where they are conscious 
of incapacity, and force an outward observance of 
what is only an internal law, an internal duty. Do 
not be led into taking me for a heretic to music, 
and banishing me from your sanctuary." 

Kerkering quickly took advantage of this turn of 
the conversation to ask Olympia to go to the organ; 
Spinoza also expressed the same desire, and it was 
soothing and refreshing to their overwrought minds 
to listen to the tones that Olympia drew, now 
swelling, now softly sinking, from the instrument. 

It was late in the evening when Spinoza and 
Kerkering left. The peculiarities of character in 
the two lovers were plainly expressed in the fact 
that Olympia, fascinated by the flow of musical 
sound, gave herself up unrestrainedly to her feel- 
ings, and there felt the freedom of unrestrained 
existence; while the philosopher's task and Spi- 


noza's natura], ruling inclination was, unmisled by 
the stormy power of the sensations, not to let these 
deadening forces influence him, but to recognize 
their perpetual laws, and meanwhile to preserve 
amid all disturbances that equanimity which alone 
meant freedom to him. 

A trifling physical peculiarity, but one which 
evinced a deeper tendency of disposition, might be 
recognized in the fact that Olympia's eyelids often 
blinked, while Spinoza's look was as open an^d — - 
steady as a child's. 

It has not been yet investigated what relation 
such physical features have to the whole vitality 
and movement of the mind. May we found this 
observation on the case of Spinoza and Olympia: 
that, while the one, musical by nature, was animated 
momentarily by harmonious sound, the other had a 
steadily speculative or, as Oldenburg termed it, a 
plastic nature ? 

These diversities in their natures formed their 
complement and a continually growing fascination. 

Whether in constant association these differences 
would always be as easily accommodated or not; 
or whether it was the duty of one whose mission 
was independent and all-embracing thought, to live 
apart from every narrowing association in the region 
of pure intellect ? These questions were for the time 
suppressed, for Spinoza had to show in other ways 
how far he already controlled his emotions. 



THE holy Jewish Church could not with indif- 
ferent eyes see one who belonged to her by 
birth and ritual wilfully break loose from her. She 
knew well enough that, if individuals were per- 
mitted to separate and live according to their own 
inclinations, the original Jewish tabernacle would 
in the future stand deserted, and no one would 
be found to take it on his shoulders and bear it 
from land to land, fixing its pillars in all kingdoms 
of the earth. Where men are allowed to be merely 
men, the gigantic edifice of the Church is tottering. 
The lords of the Christian Church, as well as of the 
Jewish, who call themselves servants, recognize this. 
The Jews had no state. What would be left to 
them if they had no Church, no synagogue ? 

The synagogue keeper, Elaser Merimon, whom 
we have before seen in company with the Cabbalist, 
had already been to Spinoza three times, and com- 
manded him in the name of the Beth-Din * to return 
to the congregation, and in meat and drink, as well 
as in attendance at the synagogue, to live after the 

* Ecclesiastical Court 


precepts of the Jewish religion. He had refused to 
obey these commands, and the lesser excommuni- 
cation was passed, which banished him for three 
months from the Jewish Church. Though he had 
already condemned himself to this penalty, he 
entered a protest against the sentence, because his 
manner of life was not radically in opposition to 
Judaism, and he pledged himself to prove the il- 
legality of the ceremony. His protest, how:ever, 
was in vain, and he thought no more about it, for he 
recognized only one ban — that which could banish 
him from the presence of Olympia. His two broth- 
ers-in-law then came, and reminded him that he 
must return to the bosom of the Church. He put 
them off with a quiet smile; but they became more 
and more violent, abused and cursed him, and 
threatened to tear him in pieces if he did not 
avert the shame of his manner of life from his 

Spinoza's Spanish blood boiled, but even then 
he suppressed all explosion of wrath. The threats 
and blustering seemed to him only immaterial op- 
position which he could have pictured to himself. 
With measured speech and kinsmanlike behavior, 
in so far as was consistent with independence, he 
drew the limits; he taught their violence that ex- 
ternal behavior could not bind, and external force 
not convince. His words must have contained con- 
vincing proofs, for the two looked at each other in 



mute astonishment and left him. A few days after- 
wards, however, on the Sabbath, Spinoza was sur- 
prised by another visitor, a woman, carrying a baby 
hardly a year old in her arms, and leading a little 
girl by the hand. Spinoza advanced kindly towards 

'* I am glad you have come to me, dear Miriam," 
he said; " but how you have aged! Are you ill, or 
in trouble ?" 

" I am quite well, God be praised !" answered 
Miriam, sighing, " and could not complain otherwise. 
Yes, dear brother, ' marrying is marring;' two bad 
confinements, thirteen weeks in bed, and the house- 
hold going to ruin all the time; no rest at night 
with the children, and trouble and care the whole 
year round — you would not laugh at me now for 
looking too often in the mirror; often I never look 
in it from one Sabbath to another." 

" I am very sorry that I have seen so little of you, 
or been able to help, you so little; but leave the 
cares behind now," said Spinoza, " they will soon 
be "less. You can hardly think what an infinite 
pleasure it is to have you with me again. Relations 
are naturally the best friends. Do you remember 
old Chaje's proverb ? * Bind me hand and foot, 
and throw me among my people, that will always 
be true.' " 

•' Ay ! you will be thrown nicely among your 
people. O God ! from the way you go on, we 


cannot see you without blushing. Do you know 
what is happening to-day ? To-day you are sum- 
moned the second time in the synagogue; perhaps 
at this very moment in which we are speaking. A 
week ago I was in the synagogue; my heart is so 
heavy, it seems as if a hundredweight lay on it. 
When we had all risen,* Rabbi Isaak Aboab (who 
gives himself great airs since he returned from 
Brazil) went to the altar; all were still, and looked 
to see what he would do next. He called on your 
name; and commanded you to return, if you would 
not have heaven's lightnings smite you, or the 
earth swallow you up. Dear brother, I thought my 
heart would be torn out. I turned icy cold, and 
then flames seemed to be before my eyes; I thought 
I should fall down, and grasped the railing; I 
fainted time after time; I don't know how I found 
strength to go home; Esther de Leon, who stood 
near me, went home with me. You know she is a 
malicious, mocking thing; but she ought to be 
silent, for she was once Acosta's betrothed, and you 
are not as bad as he yet, thank God!" 

" No, and will never be." 

" But it is bad enough now," began Miriam again; 
*' to-day is the second time, and in a week you will 
be summoned for the third time, and then — I shall 
never survive the shame of it. My husband will 

* For the Thora to be replaced. 


order me to forget that you ever were my brother 
— and how can I do that ? It seems you could, for 
if you can forget your religion, why should you not 
forget your sister." 

Miriam with these words looked at her brother's 
agitated face; she seemed sorry to have given him 
so much pain, and continued weeping: 

"Day and night you are always in my mind; I 
forget my duties as mother and wife, and it is all 
your fault; it is the thought of your disregard of 
duty that makes me do it. I cannot think what 
makes you so obstinate, but I know this: if my son 
should one day cause such trouble to his sisters, 
I would rather he should die before he learned to 

" You must not say so, dear sister; I hope all will 
come right yet. Does not your husband know you 
have come to me ?" 

" He must not know a word of it. Only think, 
he wanted me to go to the synagogue this morning, 
but, God forgive me ! I would rather go to the 
gallows; the women would look at me, and whisper 
and giggle together. I said I should be obliged to 
stay with the children, and came to you; Rebecca 
stayed at home too, but she has not dared to come 
with me; her husband is too stern. I cannot see, 
though, why you will not return. You know, I do 
not care about trifles, and do not condemn you like 
the others; but the life you lead now, you could 


lead just as well if you lived like other Jews. If 
you don't want to go three times to the synagogue, 
you can go once, and that cannot be much trouble 
to you. You see, you would still have to live, if, 
God forbid it ! you were shut up in a House of 
Correction; would it not be much worse ? No 
Sabbath, no holiday, what would you live for? I 
entreat you to come back; let other people trouble 
themselves about what belongs to religion, and 
what not. I believe you are right in many things, 
and I will listen to you in secret, if you must con- 
fide in some one; but what is the use of letting all 
the world know ? I know well enough you men 
will not put up with things that we women must 
bear and endure; but yow — you are quite different: 
from childhood you always gave up to others will- 
ingly. Be what you used to be again; believe me, 
you cannot be otherwise, it will break your heart 
to try any other rule. Control yourself now rather, 
and come back. O God ! if you were with us again, 
we should be as happy and as much respected as 
we ever were. I will read your wishes in your eyes, 
I will lay my hands under your feet; with lifted 
hands I entreat you to come back to us." 

Spinoza with difficulty mastered his agitation 
sufficiently to explain to his sister that he was fully 
determined to defend himself against the Rabbis, 
that they might not succeed in degrading either 
himself or his family; he would not merely break 

MlSSlOMAktES. 3^3 

their power in his own case, but in that of others 
also in which they would have put free thought 
under a ban. 

" I believe it, I believe it !" cried Miriam enthu- 
siastically; "you only want what is right; you are 
better than all the rest of the world. But believe 
me too, I have learned to know mankind since this 
misfortune has come through you. You wish to 
offer yourself as sacrifice for others ? You are too 
good, you are the crown of mankind; the others are 
not worthy that a hair of your head should be in- 
jured for them." 

Spinoza was deeply moved as he looked at his 
sister, who loved him so well that for his love's 
sake she rejected all others. Miriam might have 
known the movement of his heart, for, with a wail 
of grief, she threw herself on his neck and cried, 

"You cannot and you must not for the world's 
sake offer up yourself and us too. Or is it true that 
you wish to wed a Christian ?" 

Spinoza was in a painful dilemma. To lie was 
as foreign to his nature as night to day; and yet 
he hesitated how to explain to his sister that his 
intellect had led him over the boundaries of church 
dogmas, whither love was his only guide. 

An unexpected circumstance freed him from 
the necessity of further explanation. The two 
children, seeing their mother crying on their 
uncle's neck, began to cry and scream also, so 


that Miriam forgot her question in pacifying her 

" Benjamin," she said to the boy, who was first 
pacified, " Benjamin, entreat your uncle not to leave 
us. Ah ! the child has our late father's name, who 
would weep and wail too if he saw you; he cannot 
rest quietly in his grave if he hears what has be- 
come of you." Spinoza took the boy in his arms, 
and embraced and kissed him. 

" As little as this child condemns me, as little 
would my father condemn me in eternity," he said. 
Little Sarah, too, played with her uncle's hand, and 
asked him, on her mother's bidding, to go with 
them. Spinoza repeated his assurance that he 
could defend himself; and Miriam with a heavy 
heart took her children away with her. 

He had to sustain another conflict on account of 
his decision that day. Towards evening Rodrigo 
Casseres came to him. 

" You have no father now," he said, " I must 
take his place. Do you remember the time you 
saw me first ? You too will have a cur's burial 
like that renegade. Do you remember the evening 
when I told you of your uncle Geronimo's dreadful 
death ? You too will die like that; only more God- 
forsaken, more torn by the devil, for you have 
trodden down the creed of your fathers of your 
own free-will. Your father, I and all of us, for 
what have we staked our lives day after day ? For 




the holy faith of our fathers. Why have we left 
our beautiful native land and wandered into far 
countries ? That we might openly serve our faith 
in peace; and you reject it of your own free-will. 
I warn you while there is yet time; you are young 
now, but when you approach your end, your 
treachery will follow you when you wake, and 
murder your sleep." 

Spinoza had regard to the man's age, and quietly 
represented to him his firm decision and his in- 

For a week he was free from attempts at con- 
version, and during this time he worked out a plan 
of defence; and while employing for this purpose 
the authority of the Sacred Scriptures, he formed 
new conclusions and became more firm and decided 
in those he had long ago formed. What had been 
suppressed in the development of silent thought, 
whether by innate shyness or under cover of stated 
facts, now shot up with renewed strength in the 
hot conflict of defence. Spinoza, too, now felt 
that warlike spirit, that concentrated power, which 
strengthens ordinary forces and makes them rise 
above themselves. 

For the next exhortation which was addressed 
to him he did not require this power. 

On the Sabbath, as he sat at table enjoying his 
simple mid-day meal, he heard some one heavily 
mounting the stairs; the door opened, and old Chaje 


entered the room. Spinoza drew a chair to the 
table for her, and asked: 

" Have they sent you out too, to bring back the 
lost sheep to the flock ?" 

" No, as true as I wish God may let me see joy 
in him again, I came here of my own wish. I 
thought my old legs would break before I got up 
the stairs. I did not believe any of them. I wanted 
to hear with my own ears if it were true that he 
would reject our holy religion; he was once a 
brave, pious Jewish child." 

Spinoza remarked in silence the influence that 
the report spread about him must have had, for 
old Chaje in her zeal almost forgot his presence, 
and appeared to talk to herself about him. 

" Who knows that ?" asked Spinoza. 

" Who knows it ? A fine secret ! The children 
in the street talk about it. O Lord, how often 
have I carried him in my arms ! Who would have 
thought then that he could become such a one as 
this? What is true, is true; the sister of Black 
Gudul, who was servant at Rabbi Aboab's, said 
long ago Baruch was a hypocrite; where he will be 
the Rabbi, the congregation will get baptized. I 
always thought, if I should close my eyes after liv- 
ing over a hundred years, — I have neither kith nor 
kin in the world, more's the pity, — I would leave 
Baruch my little bit of fortune that I have saved up, 
and that he would have said prayers for my soul; 


that I, too, might have a silver chair in Gan-Eden.* 
Ah ! my wishes and hopes have melted away." 

Chaje wept bitterly. Spinoza tried to console 

" He leads me too into sin by making me weep 
on the Sabbath; it has knocked another nail in my 
coffin," she wailed. " I would like to know what he 
can be thinking of. Has the Jewish religion been 
right for so many thousand years that it should be 
thrown aside now like a broken pot ? He must be 
possessed, I do believe; why should he have abused 
the Jews and the Jewish religion ? ' Cut off your 
nose and spite your face,* the proverb says. He 
will try and please me and be good and pious 
again, won't he ? He will surely thank me on his 
deathbed, when he follows me. It was only youth- 
ful folly, and that is soon forgotten. The grass 
need only grow over it a year, and then he might 
choose among the daughters of the richest men in 

Spinoza was nearly powerless against old Chaje's 
talk; on her no explanation had any effect; she 
would not go away until he had promised to be 
pious and good again. At last he had to give her 
plainly to understand that she must take her de- 
parture. Olympia prophesied aright when she said 
pilgrimages would one day be made to Spinoza, but 

* Paradise. 


the pilgrimage was first made to Maledictus. The 
day after Spinoza had got rid of old Chaje, the 
physician Solomon de Silva came to him. He be- 
gan with professional inquiries, and told Spinoza 
that his present way of life was undermining his 
health; but he-4::eplied that two of his friends were 
physicians, that he observed diet, and was always 
fairly well. Silva then drove his probe deeper. 

" I confess," he said, " that Judaism contains 
many abuses and abnormal developments which 
ought to be got rid of; when I was your age it 
used to weigh on my mind too. The impetuosity 
of youth always wants hastily to cut away what 
displeases it, but that will not do; men must first 
win respect and confidence, and not shock people; 
then later on something may be permitted to you, 
and you can carry out your plans by degrees." 

" The Talmud teaches that you should keep no 
false measures in your house," answered Spinoza. 
'' Does that not refer here ?" 

"In any case," persisted the physician, "time 
and opportunity are to be considered; these every- 
day conditions have at least their natural rights 
as much as abstract logical thoughts. The first 
rule is, that whoever wishes to influence any asso- 
ciation and work seasonable and reasonable re- 
forms, must never place himself outside that as- 
sociation. Therefore I counsel you to return; 
remember there are other people who have seen 


the light of reason, but who do not care to over- 
throw the old observances all at once. Much has 
happened latterly for the suggestion of which any 
one would have been stoned fifty years ago; and it 
is ever so with progress. You see, our whole Low- 
country home is a type of our religion. Dams are 
built, canals dug, to bind and restrain the wild 
power of the elements; on these dams life again 
appears, and the canals become connecting roads 
which hold men together. The power of centuries 
lies in these wise precautions. Common men even 
will keep this land sacred, because they know that 
the labor of races passed away has wrung it from 
the sea. If any one should come and find a better, 
must he pierce the dams, destroy the work of his 
forefathers, and for a short time annihilate fruitful 
fields, and populous villages and towns, now built 
on dry land ? It is thus with our religion. Do not 
tear down the dams. Do not ! If you return, 
there are many clear heads with whom, perhaps 
indeed at their head, you can help to reform 

" Who told you I wanted to do so ? Perhaps 
Judaism is nothing more to me than its offshoot, 
Christianity — a development of mind followed by 
others. In the first place, I want nothing but to 
retain my independent life, and in that the power 
of no Rabbi shall hinder me." 

"Have you forgotten," asked Silva, "what you 



told me when we came to this room for the first 
time with your late father ? The time may come 
when you will feel deserted by all who belong to 
you by bonds of kindred and religion; you will 
stretch out your hands to them, and grasp naught 
but empty air. I know too wxU how far your free 
thought has carried you; I do not believe you will 
turn Christian.' Trust my experience, if you reach 
the highest point of free-thought, and have shaken 
off all prejudice or doctrinal peculiarity, you are, 
and will always remain, a Jew to them; they will 
always look upon you as a foreigner. They have 
imbibed hatred and aversion to the Jews with their 
mothers' milk; you waste your love on them. 
What good they may discover in you, they will set 
down as exceptional; if you strive for wealth and 
honor, they will say it is Jewish avarice and ambi- 
tion; if you hold both cheap, they will say he has 
acquired a little Christian modesty and scorn of 
worldly wealth. They will think you charming 
and inimitable if you mock at Jewish folly; but if 
you attack one of their own prejudices, even if they 
themselves had long ago made a jest of it, you 
must not do it, and if you do it, you are a pert, 
obtrusive Jew. It is the same in this as in other 
things in life: we confess our faults, and blame 
ourselves for them; but if another does it, we are 
annoyed. Sooner will the heavens kiss the earth, 
or fire and water unite, than a Jew and a Christian 



embrace in true, tender, all-forgetting love and 
union. Ay, and if you are baptized, the first defect 
they discover in you, it is the old Jewish Adam ap- 
pearing. So return to your own people, who love 
you truly, and on whose neck rests the same yoke; 
they will receive you with brotherly love, and for- 
get your backsliding." 

** No," said Spinoza, " you have committed a sore 
sin against God and human nature by your words; 
it would be too horrible if they were true, but they 
are not. It is indeed possible for man to belong 
to man; love and comprehension are more durable 
than hatred and prejudice. Is the human mind 
originally Jewish or Christian ? Well ! I shall see 
in time whether you speak the truth." 

" Do not; why should you be ruined ? * Whoever 
would purify himself, men will come to his help; 
but he who would defile himself, men let him 
alone,* says the Talmud. I will make you a good 
proposition. The congregation offer you a place 
in the Beth-Din; you can follow your studies un- 
disturbed, for you have little to do there." 

"I will never accept office." 

" The congregation will guarantee you a salary 
of a thousand gulden, on condition that you will 
promise on your honor never to write a word 
against Judaism." 

" The proverb says, ' If the people wish to 
silence a man, they must stop his mouth with 



broth/ replied Spinoza. "It is a practical and 
politic method, but not applicable to my case. My 
dear doctor, I do not want you to be angry with 
me, but .what are such proposals to me ?" 

" I only told, you of them to fulfil my commission; 
I personally have something else to say to you. 
Youth will not see that there is really no such 
thing as absolute truth, that such a thing cannot 
exist in the world, because it would be tyrannically 
absolute. He who knows the fate of man, and has 
lived a long life of his own, knows that historical 
truth alone is worth anything. You are too modest 
and humble to be a scoffer; you see, even God 
allows the many-sidedness of truth; grant — " 

" And my intelligence of Him obliges me to fol- 
low that perception." 

" Hold firmly to that, and at the same time hold 
to the conditions of history. Whether you come to 
my conviction that no philosophy can reveal the 
secrets of the world further than the Jewish revela- 
tion, or whether you are of another opinion, and 
accept the Messianic time as one in which your ab- 
solute intellectual truth reigns ; look back: if it 
were for nothing but the memory of the innumera- 
ble multitude who were murdered for our faith, 
this alone must keep us fast within its sacred walls. 
A religion which despises the joys of life, and 
teaches love of a fearful death for its sake, must it 
not contain the first spring of truth ? Who would 



dam it up with a rash hand because in course of 
time it runs muddily ? The blood of your brothers 
and sisters murdered in the past cries to Heaven 
for vengeance on you, for you defile their honorable 
graves by writing on their tombstones that they 
died for illusion and error." 

"I do not do so; it is calumny to say so of me: 
the Jewish laws are great and holy to me; in them 
the Godhead for those times most clearly revealed 
himself; blessed are they who know and live ac- 
cording to them; but has the Divinity since those 
times ceased to live in the minds of men ? Are all 
later born races doomed to stop where the former 
stood, and fetter themselves with old forms? The 
form fades, the spirit remains eternal, renewed in 
youth, and increasing ever in strength." 

"A powerful mind is in you," began Silva again, 
controlling himself; " your moderation assures me 
that you will be a great man. Weak natures are 
violent and wrathful in controversy, but never the 
strong. Do not throw a stone in the well you have 
drunk from. Your resolution to freely sacrifice all 
for the truth, you have inherited from the Jews. 
Be thankful. Show your power by self-control, be 
faithful to yourself and your own, and be not led 
away to apostasy." 

"There is no apostasy but from ourselves." 

" We shall all honor you, I above the rest, if you 
control yourself," 



^' And I shall be disgraced in my own eyes." 

Confusion and dejection were seen in Silva's 
face; everything, even just appreciation of his 
virtue, was in vain with Spinoza. The physician 
rose and cried: 

" Alas ! you are lost. I can only pray to God to 
let in the light of day on you, that the ignis fatuus 
which leads you into marsh and slough may 

Tears stood in Silva's eyes as he spoke; he 
turned and went away. Spinoza was deeply moved 
by the conversation; he was much pained to have 
so grieved the reverend old man, and not to be 
able to obey him; but how otherwise could he or 
durst he act ? 

It was much easier for Spinoza to dismiss the 
last tempter. In the afternoon Chisdai came, and 
as soon as he had entered the door he threw him- 
self on the floor and sat as if mourning. 

"What is that for?" said Spinoza. 

" Alas !" cried Chisdai, muttering to the floor, 
without raising his head, " has the unclean spirit in 
thee made thee forget everything ? Do you no 
longer know the story of Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyr- 
kanos ?" 

"Very well; he wanted to prove his view of the 
permissible use of a baker's oven by miracles, and 
was excommunicated for it. No one would take 
him the news till Rabbi Akiba did as you are doing 



here. Am I not still a good Talmudist ? But get 
up; I can neither tell a tree to place itself elsewhere, 
nor water that it should flow backwards, nor the 
walls either that they should bend inward; they 
none of them obey me." 

"So !" cried Chisdai, springing up, and shaking 
his fist fiercely, " so you mock at the Talmud too ? 
You see I came here in peace; I would have warned 
you to fear God, and showed you that I did not 
oppose you in jealousy or any other base passion; 
but words are lost on you. Go thy ways ! The 
carrion crows beside the stream will peck out thine 
eyes, and the young eagles devour them." 

" You can pervert the Bible, like a good Tal- 
mudist as you are; the Scriptures only lay that 
curse on one who mocks at and scorns his father 
and mother." 

"That you have done seventy times seven, you 
reprobate. But your punishment will not tarry; 
you will yet be stoned to death, and men will cast 
stones in heaps on thy carcass, for a warning to all 
coming generations. Take heed to thyself; if I get 
thee into my hands Twill tear thee as men tear fish, 
until thy breath can no longer poison the air." 

"Talmud again," laughed Spinoza; "but re- 
member the Talmud also says, * It is good that the 
ass hath no horns.' " 

Chisdai foamed at the mouth with rage, but 
hearing some one on the stairs he went out. 

396 ^Pij\rozA, 

" What sort of a featherless biped is it that has 
just left you ?" said Meyer, entering; "he looks like 
an incarnate original sin." 

Spinoza laughed heartily at the description. 

" You have ridden your hobby horse to the right 
post this time," said he; ''but this original sin 
wanted to lead me back into the Jewish paradise." 

Meyer exhorted him to oppose the Jewish Papacy 
with all his usual power and firmness, and as he 
soon took his leave, Spinoza too went out. 

For the first time he felt not at home alone 
within his own four walls; he found it impossible 
to concentrate his mind as formerly on the investi- 
gation of any particular line of thought; he needed 
a friendly cheerful heart with whom he could un- 
bend, and forget the storm of the day. Where 
should he seek it if not with Olympia ? He went 
there, and found her in confidential conversation 
with Kerkering. He thought both looked strangely 
surprised when he entered; he guessed rightly that 
he had been the subject of their conversation. 

Olympia, as usual, easily mastered her agitation. 

" You appeared to me in a dream last night, Herr 
von Spinoza," she said in the course of conversa- 
tion; " you must guess in what form." 

"You believe in neither angels nor devils; per- 
haps you saw me in the form of a monk ?" 

" No, guess again." 

"An Emperor?" 



"A Rabbi? A Pope?" 

** No, you are not guessing now, I know. I saw 
you as Masaniello, with a fishing net on your back; 
your red embroidered cap with the long tassel 
suited your coal-black hair, and your sleeves were 
rolled up above your elbows. I saw you carried 
through the streets that way, by a crowd of Jews, 
to the new Town Hall; there you climbed up to 
the golden ship on the tower and cried: ' Fellow- 
citizens, you who, as Erasmus of Rotterdam says, 
live like crows on the tops of trees ! I see your 
fork-like chimneys and your double-faced gables, 
I see the canals and dams that intersect your land, 
and your life that flows on as much contracted, and 
without free tide, in the preordained way. I tell 
you, this will all be changed. I erase the " You 
should " from your book of life, and in my doctrine 
write it, " You must, for you can." You think fish 
are mute ? It is not true. I have caught a legion 
from the depth of the sea, who all speak wisdom.' 
Then you took your net from your back, it was 
empty; you turned it round, and an infinite number 
of fish fell out; they glittered beautifully in the sun, 
their fins became wings, and they fluttered away 
screaming. You, however, remained there, and 
uttered a Philippic against the legend that, on the 
day on which the envoys of the Seven United Pro- 
vinces should go through the seven doors of the 


finished Town Hall the good-fortune of each pro- 
vince would desert it and never return. And then 
you explained how your philosophy corresponded 
with the water communication of our land; how 
they could break and control storms and tides; how 
men could drain flooded land from the stream of 
sensations, and make it dry and fertile; everything 
was perfectly clear, I understood it quite well in my 
dream. Now I am, unfortunately, as unphilosophi- 
cal again as the grauw — the crowd — who roared 
and shrieked, ' He is a wizard, he is a son of the 
Devil! ' and pulled down the Town Hall. I awoke. 
If you only possessed some of Daniel's art !" 

Spinoza asked if she had spoken to Frau Ger- 
trui lately; Olympia protested she had not seen her 
for several weeks. It was really a strange coin- 
cidence, for Spinoza had two days ago begun the 
odd freak of drawing his own portrait as Masaniello. 
He told Olympia nothing of this, because he knew 
that she was much given, in spite of her free-think- 
ing opinions, to building up wonderful theories of 
premonition. To-day, too, he did not feel at ease 
with her. Was it the presence of Kerkering, or was 
it because he had come there with a full heart, 
and saw too late that he should find no sympathy 
here in his painful conflict ? An undefined uncer- 
tainty and doubt pervaded his connection with 
Olympia. He saw that Kerkering became more and 
more familiar with her, and she did not, as formerly. 



keep him jestingly at a distance. He even thought 
he perceived a secret understanding between them. 
When he left, Olympia said: 

" Your sister Rebecca came to me to-day. I was 
to persuade you to submit to the Rabbis." 

Spinoza bowed in silence. How could she relate 
her dream and carry on such jests, instead of im- 
parting this circumstance? Must it not have made 
her heart full that his sister should come entreat- 
ingly to her.? "You should not expect others to 
know an emotion which you suppress in yourself," 
he said to himself. 

Miriam, who had lived with him in sisterly love 
from childhood, came to him, and only inquired 
shyly about his love; while Rebecca, the domineer- 
ing, who had always been estranged from him, went 
straight to Olympia. What must she have ap- 
peared to her ? Perhaps she had made his beloved 
one's heart doubtful, and given her a dislike to his 

Spinoza felt his cheeks burn. He was on the 
point of cutting loose from all bonds of family and 
all chains of habit, but could never endure these to 
be despised. 

Love and truth should have stood by him in the 
conflict now opening on him. Did truth alone re- 
main to him ? 




AN innumerable crowd lined the streets, praying 
with folded hands to the Lord that he would 
protect the undertaking of their liberator. In front 
rode the Imperial herald with the eagle, and the 
soldier of God's Word followed, accompanied by 
travellers the same way in shining steel and gor- 
geous accoutrements. And when he entered the 
assembly, his admirers climbed on the roofs, and 
filled the streets and windows, for each one esteemed 
himself highly favored who caught sight of him. 
And when he had boldly and manfully fought the 
battle, he was borne home in triumph, and a voice 
was heard to cry, " Blessed are the hands that bear 
him." Thus, in the year 15 21, Martin Luther went 
to Worms, the bold champion of the freedom of the 
Divine Word. 

It is hard to sustain a conflict with power and 
custom at any time; it is painful to support it 
publicly; but the thousand upturned sympathetic 
faces are like a glory round the head of the- cham- 
pion, and raise his strength to be the strength of 
thousands. And if he finds himself overcome, he 
has felt the blessings of innumerable hearts in whom 


his ideas will live. How very different it is to gird 
for a conflict without victory in mute obscurity ! 

In the year 1657 Benedict Spinoza went alone to 
the House of Jacob Synagogue in Amsterdam, ac- 
companied by no one, greeted by no one. The peo- 
ple who knew him avoided this man, who was the 
firmest champion of the freedom of religious 
thought. He had no old written law to conquer for 
the world anew; he appeared as if he would deprive 
it of its strongest fortress, since he would have 
naught but the good old right of free thought. 

In the synagogue the ten Judges sat in their 
seats, the president being Rabbi Isaak Aboab. 
Near him sat Rabbi Saul Morteira. Spinoza stood 
four paces distant from him. Rabbi Isaak Aboab 
rose and said: 

"With the help of God we are here assembled 
to declare judgment and law on thee, Baruch ben 
Benjamin Spinoza. Swear to us in the name of 
the Almighty God that thou wilt neither deny nor 
conceal anything from us, and that thou wilt submit 
to the sentence which the Lord shall make known 
by our mouths." 

" Deceit I know not, and lies are far from me," 
answered Spinoza; " I will submit to your judgment, 
if you judge me according to the Divine Word, 
and not according to the inclinations of your own 
hearts and the interpretations of the Rabbis." 

A murmur rose in the assembly, but it could be 


heard that the almost universal opinion was that 
the accused, by thus demurring to recognize their 
authority unconditionally, ought to be laid under 
the greater excommunication without further trial. 
Rabbi Saul Morteira called for silence. 

*' Let us see," he said, " how far the corruption 
of his heart goes. Say, renegade, hast thou not 
sinned against God in the enjoyment of forbidden 
meat and drink, and by laboring on the Sabbath ? 
Hast thou not deserted the assembly of the faith- 
ful, and defamed the sacred name of God and His 
laws ? And it is written, ' He who profaneth the 
name of God in secret shall be punished openly.' " 

A pause ensued. Spinoza looked down, then 
looking up he replied in a calm voice: 

" I cannot do miracles and signs, or call upon 
nature to stand by and witness for me. In me alone 
must be shown the power which proves the pres- 
ence of God in every human heart. That I stand 
here before you, accused by you who believe an- 
other manner of life well pleasing to God, that I 
do not tremble and accuse myself of aught, accept 
as a sign of my love to God, which I consider my 
highest good. I defend myself only on the accusa- 
tion of Sabbath-breaking, because this may appear 
an offence against the sacred law of God in nature. 
It is well and advantageous to oppressed men that 
they should hav& one day in seven for rest. And it 
is wise, for the privilege of humanity consists in 



free regulation of its powers; but who gives you the 
right to punish a man for a sin which he commits 
against himself ?" 

Those assembled all rose from their seats and 
cried out that they wowld no longer listen to such 
blasphemy; but Rabbi Isaak Aboab said: 

" Let him speak. From every word he speaks a 
demon rises that will cling round his soul in his 
extremity; and when he dies the death of a sinner, 
they will hang on to him, and drag him down to 
the pit of hell. It is our duty to hear his whole 
guilt. Step forward and speak, witnesses." 

Chisdai and Ephraim advanced; the one proudly 
looking up, the other looking down ashamed. 

"He has blasphemed God and the prophets in 
our hearing, denied the angels, and mocked at the 
miracles; and that he has done all this I swear be- 
fore the face of the eternal God." 

" I swear, too, that Chisdai has spoken the truth," 
said Ephraim in a low voice. 

" What answer do you make ?" asked Morteira; 
and Spinoza replied: 

" I have not blasphemed the prophets. Indeed I 
honor them better than those who wreathe their 
heads with the false glory of infallibility; who rob 
them of the divine majesty of human greatness, 
and degrade them to idols. Go forth and see, did 
the sun stand still in Gibeon ? I have denied the 
angels ? Has not Rabbi Joseph Albo already said 


openly, that belief in the existence of angels was 
immaterial and unnecessary ? I have mocked at 
the miracles ? What do you accuse me of ? Open 
at the passage where Balaam's ass speaks, and look 
what Ebn Esra says there. I have blasphemed 
God ? I pity thee that thou knowest not that no 
human intellect which follows its innate laws can 
escape him." 

•' Have you not said," interrupted Chisdai — " woe 
is me that I must speak it after you ! — have you not 
said that in the Holy Scriptures many imperfect 
and false ideas of the nature of God are to be 
found ?" 

" I think I honor God more than you by that. 
Is not God called 'great' in the Bible, and is there 
a 'greatness' without limited extension in space? 
It is true the Bible can only be explained by itself. 
It carries the ground of its truths in itself. It will 
not be measured by the laws of intellect; but neither 
will it overrule them. The reason God has given 
us, therefore, is no less divine, and can and must 
create its ideal of God for itself, and find in itself 
what is necessary to the leading of a godly life. 
The Bible itself recognizes this sacred right of our 
Reason, in recognizing a godly war of life in the 
men who lived before the revelation on Sinai, 
while it detracts from the truth in the law-giving of 
Moses as a merely temporal revelation, by saying: 
* It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who 


shall go for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that 
we may hear it, and do it ? But the word is very- 
nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, 
that thou mayest do it.' In our reason, on the 
height of pure religious thought, there is our Sinai. 
I will faithfully and openly explain to you my 
views of higher things; if you refute me by reason, 
"I will submit to you." 

" You have appealed to the Holy Scriptures," 
cried Morteira. '' Woe ! that thy tongue was not 
burned to ashes, that thou venturedst to take its 
holy words thereon; what would you have with 
your Baal, Reason ?" 

" Destroy him if you can," replied Spinoza. 

Rabbi Isaak Aboab had till now quietly listened 
to the discussion; now he rose and cried: 

"The measure is full; you are all agreed with 
me that this epicurean has deserved the extremest 
chastisement of Gehinom." 

All present answered with an audible "Amen," 
and Aboab continued: 

" Now I ask of thee, Baruch ben Benjamin Spi- 
noza, wilt thou recant thy blasphemous words, and 
submit thee to the penance that is due on that 
account, or wilt thou that the highest curse of ex- 
communication be passed on thee ?" 

" Refute me by Reason and I will recant ! You 
will not hear me. I would answer you from the 
Scriptures. If you cannot hear me in this obscure 


synagogue, and will not try the Truth on its just 
grounds, I will speak my thoughts to the whole 
world, where no ban reaches. I have only come to 
your tribunal to show you that I oppose no asso- 
ciation that thinks it possesses the truth in its 
creed; but freedom of thought has its own inviol- 
able domains. If you, as you have here accepted 
me, now reject me — a new day will break — " 

" False prophet, be silent !" thundered Rabbi 
Aboab. ^' I ask for the second time, I ask for the 
third time, will you recant ?" 

The stillness of the grave reigned for a second 
in the hall; then Spinoza looked up, and answered 
in a firm voice: 

"I cannot, but neither can you do otherwise; I 
curse you not." 

Rabbi Isaak Aboab tore his mantle, and Rabbi 
Saul Morteira took the Schofar that lay covered be- 
fore him, and blew it three times, so that it echoed 
on all sides of the dome; the sacred ark was 
opened, all present arose, and Rabbi Isaak Aboab 
read from a parchment: 

*' In the Name of the Lord of lords 
Art thou, Baruch, son of Benjamin, 
Laid under the greater ban. 
Be thou under the ban of both laws. 
Heavenly and earthly: 
Be banned by the saints above. 
Be banned by the Seraphim, 
Be banned by the Ophanim. 


Shut out from all communities. 

From the great and from the small. 

On thee be great and heavy plagues. 

Painful and horrible sickness; 

Thy house be a dragon's den, 

And thy star vanish from above. 

Be thou the pest and horror of men, 

And thy carcass the food of snakes. 

Be thou a sport unto thine enemies, 

And the goods that thou mayest possess 

Be the portion of strangers. 

Before the doors of thine enemies 

May thy children wail, 

And because of thy life's tortures 

Be thy children's children struck with horror. 

Be accursed by all spirits 

Michael and Gabriel, 

Raphael and Mescharthel. 

Be accursed of the Great God. 

By the seventy Spirits' names, 

Subjects to the Great King, 

By the great seal Zartok, 

Go to Hell like Korah's band, 

And with trembling and quivering 

Thy soul go out of thee. 

God's terrors slay thee. 

Overthrown like Achitophel 

In the snares of thy plots. 

Gehazi's leprosy be thine, 

And from thy fall mayst thou never arise; 

Where Israel's graves lie 

Be thy grave never dug. 

Given away to the stranger 



Be thy wife ; in thine hour of death 

May others defile her. — 

This ban, and this curse 

On Baruch, son of Benjamin. 

But on all Israel 

And on me rest the peace of God 

And his blessing eternally." 

On this the Rabbi took the Thora from the 
sacred ark, unrolled it and read (Deut. xxix. 19, 
etc.): "And it come to pass, when he heareth the 
words of this curse, that he bless himself in his 
heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in 
the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness 
to thirst: the Lord will not spare him. But then 
the anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke 
against that man, and all the curses that are writ- 
ten in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord 
shall blot out his name from under heaven." The 
Thora was returned to the sacred ark, the Schofar 
was again blown, and all those present said, turn- 
ing towards Spinoza, 

*' Cursed be thy coming in, and cursed be thy 
going out." 

All spat towards him, and recoiled four paces, as 
with unbroken firmness he left the synagogue. 

Would this exit from the accustomed sanctuary 
be entrance to another, or would he never more 
enter a temple of stone, and outwardly prove that 
a free man is the temple of God ? 


Before the synagogue he met Oldenburg, Meyer, 
and de Vries, who waited for him; they had heard 
of the proceedings, and waited here to protect him 
from the violence of the Rabbis. The friends had 
never yet seen Spinoza's countenance so animated 
as now. They went silently away with him; Olden- 
burg grasped his hand and pressed it. 

As Spinoza passed his father's house he heard 
the lamentations of his sisters; he knew they now 
bewailed him more bitterly than if he were dead. 

Now that he had not renounced it of his own 
free will, now that it was torn from him, he felt 
doubly what it is to be cut off in youth from all that 
is dear and familiar in it; cutting all threads of 
memory, and so dismembering life, that it has no 
longer a connection with the past. 

The saddest consciousness in the casting off of 
any tender relation of life lies in this, that on both 
sides a piece of life is extinguished and destroyed, 
whose involuntary reawakening often fills us with 
supernatural horror, and makes us hasten our flignt 
to oblivion. 

" So they sat down with him .... and none 
spake a word unto him, for they saw that his grief 
was very great." 

So it says in Job. Here, tpo, the three friends 
sat and said nothing, for they saw that his grief 
was very great. Oldenburg quietly laid his hand 
on Spinoza's shoulder, as if he could support him 



thus and lend him some of his own strength. He 
felt what must agitate the heart of his friend, for, 
though long absent from the congregation of the 
synagogue, he must feel this rough rupture like a 
fatal fall come at last. Even if expected and known 
of for long beforehand, when death is at last brought 
decisively face to face the pain is quite new — quite 

No sound was heard. Once only Oldenburg 
softly and with warning movement spoke a few 
words to Meyer when the latter had whispered 
something in his ear, for Meyer was inclined to 
treat the whole affair as hardly worth speaking of, 
or to make a jest of it. 

Spinoza sat sunk in his own thoughts, his brow 
and eyes covered with his hands. The friends 
looked at him in silence, waiting the first word that 
he would say. At last he looked up, and as if an- 
swering an appeal he said: 

" No, no ! they shall not oblige me to oppose 
them in bitterness, hatred and injustice. This 
curse, too, is love. They would leave none to go 
wrong; they would frighten and chastise him who 
would renounce t^eir association. And this horri- 
ble, elaborate curse ! If praise has its allotted 
forms cursing must, have them also. They cannot 
convert my thoughts. If I act in opposition to them 
it is I no longer who live and act. No, I will live out 
my own life; the world shall not be my master !" 


" The world ?" Meyer could contain himself no 
longer. " What have a set of rabbis in an obscure 
synagogue to do with the world ? They send you 
into exile; into a world that is much more beautiful 
and greater than the one from which they banish 

"You maybe right; but remember I received 
there my deepest awakenings of pleasure and pain. 
There was a time when honor and dishonor there 
were to me the honor and dishonor of the whole 
world. That is past." 

"Now, my friend !" cried Oldenburg, "you will 
go out into the real world, into the wide, great 
world, and you will go with me. I must leave 
Amsterdam in a few days." 

"You, and just now ?" 

" I. am sent by my native town on an embassy to 
London. Come with me." 

"What should I do there with you ?" 

" A great scientific society is to be founded in 
London. I am appointed a member, and you shall 
work with me." 

In bright, attractive colors Oldenburg drew a 
picture of the great world. Honor, renown, pleasure 
and enjoyment sparkled in unknown splendor, and 
Spinoza's countenance became suddenly brighter 
and happier. He saw himself in the midst of the 
great striving crowd, and amidst it all played a scene 
of domestic happiness in which Olympia ruled. 


Meyer and de Vries added their persuasions. 
Their words were hardly necessary, for what he 
now heard outwardly Spinoza said to himself in- 
wardly. He tremblingly seized Oldenburg's hand, 
but arrested himself hastily and said: 

" Excuse me; I must now be alone for a time." 

He was left alone and the conflict raged within 

" But why did the friends say nothing of 
Olympia .'' Was I mistaken in thinking I perceived 
a certain shyness, a certain strangeness in them ? 
To her — to her; under her eyes the new life must 



AT the time when Spinoza was leaving the syna- 
gogue the sacristan was unbolting a side-door 
of the Catholic Church of St. John. Two festively 
clad men came out, the one with a pale, agitated 
face, the other laughing and gay. It was Van den 
Ende and Kerkering. 

"I am shivering," said the latter. "I feel as if 
my usual clothing was torn off and I was freez- 
ing. When I was on my knees there abjuring 
the familiar, if half forgotten faith, and accepting 
yours, my heart contracted as if icy cold, and I 
could hardly bring out the required words. Ifis a 
good thing that in the final carrying out of a reso- 
lution we have no alternative left." 

"This nonsensical sensation," replied Van den 
Ende, " is nothing but the cold church and your 
unaccustomed position, which checks your circula- 
tion. Come, my son; the wine which they refuse 
you there and keep for themselves is much better 
at other taverns. Look at the whole thing, as you 
have so well described it, in the light of a change 
of clothes; as the fashion is, you have equipped 
yourself for a wedding, nothing more." 



Nevertheless Kerkering threw troubled glances 
round; he thought every one must be looking at 
him to see what had happened. It was not till 
they turned round the church of St. Olave's to Van 
den Ende's house that the color returned to his 
cheeks. In the physician's study, where he drank 
to the new convert in '' the mother's milk of alma 
inater nature," as he called it, Kerkering was 
warmed by the fiery wine, and joined in the jest on 
the childish sensations which he had experienced. 

Van den Ende sent to desire an interview with 
Olympia, but she sent word that she was ill in bed. 
He hastened to her, leaving Kerkering alone. 

"My child," said the father to his daughter, "I 
am going on a difficult, perhaps dangerous jour- 
ney. It is a comfort to me that I leave you in good 

" May I not know where and why ? Why have 
I lost your confidence ?" inquired Olympia. 

" That you may not pine or be anxious unneces- 
sarily. When it is over you will be the first to re- 
joice. I must play my part on a large stage. I do 
not know whether it will be to laugh or weep. In 
any case it is worth the trouble to prepare with hat 
and wig. You should remember that Lucian and 
Democritus fit themselves with courage, as well 
as their more dismal gods. But you shall know 
everything later. Now let me talk to you as a 
father, as a friend. Look, I come to you in gala- 


dress. Say now with the Stoic to physical ill, ' I 
am stronger than thou.* Deck thyself likewise. 
Take this." 

Olympia listened in astonishment to her father's 
voice, doubly gay in her silence, and looked wonder- 
ingly at the offered pearls. ^ 

" What is that for ?" she asked. 

"This bridal gift of his mother's our friend sends 
you as a compliment, and says he has shed more 
tears for you than there are pearls in the depths of 
the sea." 

" Did he weep ? I never thought he would have 
done that. It was surely because he had to abjure 
his father's faith and accept ours." 

" He did do it, my child. There was still enough 
stiff-necked Protestantism in him to protest against 
it, but it is a proof of his love. In Kerkering you 
restore my Cornelius to me." 

"Alas !" cried Olympia, and covered her face in 
the pillows. After much persuasion from her father 
she looked up sobbing. " We are all unhappy. My 
love belongs — you know, father; why need I say it? 
I love Spinoza, and am beloved by him with all the 
divine greatness of his mind, as never maiden was 
loved before." 

Van den Ende struck his forehead with his 
clenched fist. He paced the room thoughtfully 
for a long time, then again seated himself beside his 
daughter's bed. 


" Dear Olympia," he said, " be open with me. 
Have you already confessed your love ?" 


" And do you expect my consent ?" 

" Certainly, for your free-thinking mind can ad- 
mit of no prejudices." 

" I will not. Let us look at the thing openly. 
What do you mean to live on ? You know what I 
have is not really my own." 

" Spinoza could have a chair of mathematics or 
philosophy at any university." 

" That is not certain; he is rejected by the Jews 
as an infidel, and the priests of all confessions join 
hands when it is worth while to put down the com- 
mon enemy. He can polish glass, and you earn 
something with organ playing or other instruc- 
tion. It might be sufficient to ward off death by 
starvation, and if you have even pure water for 
broth you can steep your philosophy in it, and it 
will be nutritious food, but your children unfor- 
tunately will not be satisfied therewith. Your love 
is nothing but a false syllogism." 

"Father, you are too hard." 

" I am not. On your spiritual heights, where you 
let yourself be fluttered round by nothing but genii 
who have neither bone nor marrow, any one such as 
I am must appear a barbarian. You have solved 
the eternal problem of human fate and the exist- 
ence of the world ; what does it matter to you if 



your fate and the nourishment of your existence 
give you a new problem to solve day by day ? Your 
souls love each other, and the dear souls, ah ! they 
are such dear adaptable creatures that no privation 
is too hard for them." 

" Is that the want of prejudice with which you 
would talk to me ? Do the sacrifices which I so 
joyfully undertake merit such mockery ?" 

"You are right," replied the father, "you may 
marry him ; I will not oppose it. The human will 
is his kingdom ; it is also my motto. But think of 
one thing: how will you bear it when your friends 
and acquaintances turn up their noses and titter 
when they see you cross the street with him? ' Look, 
there she goes,' they will say; 'she would have 
stayed a spinster if the poor Jew, whose kin even 
rejected him, had not taken pity on her ! ' I cannot 
say they are wrong if they think, * If he really loved 
her he would have denied his old creed willingly, 
and not have waited till he was turned out ;' for 
that is and always will be an insult in the eyes of 
the world. And they will gossip further and say : 
* How proud she was once, and how she looked 
down on us ; she is lucky now, she does not want a 
wardrobe ; the cast-off dress she had ten years ago 
is now her whole stock. We pity her v/ith all our 
hearts.* I know such things could not and would 
not shake your resolution ; I only tell it you that 
you may know it beforehand. I will not compare 


Spinoza in any way with Kerkering ; his mind is 
great, and one minute in which your souls ring in 
celestial harmony together weighs against years of 
self-denial, weighs against all enjoyment of earthly 
pleasures. You love and honor him, you admire the 
majestic nature of his intellect. I do not believe that 
he will misuse this power over you ; such things 
seldom happen. What is he compared to Kerker- 
ing ? He has sealed his love by going over to your 
church ; he has left a powerful and honorable as- 
sociation ; he has not made you a partaker in the 
painful preliminaries, nor laid any responsibility 
on you that you might receive the fruit of his work 
without personal trouble, and it is thus that he will 
always act. You will be bound by no gratitude 
for his acts ; he makes no pretension but that he 
loves you. He adores you, all your words are ora- 
cles to him, the lightest wish of your heart is a 
command to him which he fulfils with joy ; but 
you are right, you would not have a husband whom 
you could rule ; the wife's fairest ornament is obe- 
dience, obedience even to tyrannical oppression. 
What can Kerkering offer you ? Nothing but a 
good, faithful heart that beats only for you. He 
can give you a life amid brilliant society, honor and 
pleasure. You will be an object of envy to all your 
friends. But what is all this to the enjoyment of 
perfect intellectual harmony ? Truly, it is eternal, 
and your eternity will outlast a year, maybe two ; 
is not that enough ?" 


Van den Ende was silent. Olympia no longer 
wept and sobbed ; she dreamily played with the 
pearls that lay before her. 

" Can I get up ?" she inquired at last. 

" Certainly," said the father, and smiled content- 
edly to himself as he left the room. 

Olympia rose and dressed. 

" I made out my love to be stronger than it is, 
to my father," she said to herself. " Was it not in 
the beginning mere wounded self-love and desire 
to see no man unconquered that threw me into his 
arms? No, I loved him formerly, and I love him 
yet." She took the pearls, clasped them round her 
neck, and looked at herself well pleased in the 
mirror. " ' I should not have found another hus- 
band,' they will say; what does that matter to 
me ? My own consciousness tells me these pearls, 
and with them a life of brilliant enjoyment, was in 
my hand, and I despised it all. But am I right to 
do it? He is a born hermit, knowledge is his god- 
dess. I only free him, I give him back himself, if 
I deny him my hand. No, this glitter dazzles my 
eyes. And yet, may not his strong mind behave 
differently when, safe in possession of me, he has 
no longer to woo for my favor ? He knows I feel 
small beside him. How often has he tutored me, 
and will he not do it in another sense then ? No, 
he is kind and good, but I am too weak, and Ker- 
kering's submissive adoration has fascinated me," 


She laid the pearls down, and paced the chamber 
thoughtfully. Again she stood before the mirror 
and gazed into it dreamily and absently. She saw 
herself, pining, ragged, muddy and laughed at, go 
through the streets; she only banished this mad- 
dening vision with a forced song. When her 
father heard her so gay he entered the room. 

" Kerkering," said he, "is waiting outside; he 
will not move from the spot until he receives the 
decisive 'Yes' or * No.' I believe I know your 
thoughts. I will not try to influence your decision, 
but I may be able to help you. Come with me." 

Olympia clung to her father as if in childlike 
obedience and humility, and intimated that she 
complied with his wishes; in this compliance lay 
a half-unconscious obstinacy, thinly covered by an 
appearance of humility. Her father took her hand, 
and led her into the other room to Kerkering, say- 

"Here I bring your bride, my son.'* 

Kerkering took a diamond ring from his finger, 
and placed it on Olympia's. 

" Mine forever !" he said, and impressed a warm 
kiss on her lips. In the same hour that Spi- 
noza struggled with the temptations of a life of 
honor and pleasure Olympia also had fought with 
temptation and succumbed. 

Kerkering and his bride sat that evening in 
confidential discourse, Van den Ende rubbed his 


hands and smiled as he paced the room. Olympia 
felt more and more at ease in Kerkering's com- 
pany; indeed she found him so amiable that she 
blamed herself for not having given him her heart 
long before. Kerkering told her that he had 
bought a well-broken-in riding horse for her, and 
that again, as years before, she should sit proudly 
in her saddle, and ride through the streets with 
him. He spread a brilliant life of pleasure in 
entrancing colors before her eyes. Olympia's cheeks 
flushed rosy red, her heart beat loudly. Kerkering 
held her in his embrace. At an unusual hour and 
with unusual gravity Spinoza entered. Olympia 
tore herself from Kerkering's arms; for a second 
she pressed her hands to her eyes, then stood up 
and advanced to Spinoza. 

*' I know you do not like scenes any more than 
I," she said with a trembling voice. " I have no 
concealments from my father and Kerkering; we 
did love each other. Remember that sacred hour 
when you conjured me to forget what we were and 
wished to be. Now that time is come. Herr Ker- 
kering is my betrothed." 

She was obliged to support herself by her organ. 
Spinoza stood as if spellbound before her, gazing 
at her. 

"I entreat you," began Olympia again, "do not 
withdraw your friendship from me." 

"I hope Herr Kerkering may afford you the 


happiness that I myself in happier hours hoped to 
be able to offer you/' answered Spinoza in a hoarse 
voice. He stayed for some time, spoke on in- 
different subjects, and with an amount of humor 
which they had not perceived in him before. 
Though deception was so foreign to his nature, he 
was here entangled in a double network of it. 
He hoped by his equanimity to make Olympia's 
part easier to her, and made it more difficult; he 
thought it owing to his self-respect to remain 
longer that he might take leave quietly; but truly 
it was because it was so painful to him to tear him- 
self away forever from the charming surroundings 
in which the best joys of love had bloomed for him. 

Oldenburg came too, and for the first time kissed 
Spinoza when he heard what had taken place. 

Kerkering was in overflowing spirits, and jest- 
ingly said that he was only born that day, and 
Olympia must sing him a cradle-song. Oldenburg 
asked for the song of the " Maid under the lime 
trees." Olympia objected, but Kerkering too in- 
sisted on that particular one; he desired it as the 
first and only compliance of his new life, and 
pressed on all sides, Olympia unwillingly sat down 
to the organ, and sang: 

" A maiden should right early rise 
To seek where her beloved one lies. 
Beneath the lime trees she sought him, 
But found not her love where she thought him. 



*' A knight came riding that way to see. 

* What do you here alone ? ' said he. 

* Count you the greenest branches, 
Or the golden, yellow roses ? ' 

' I count the greenest branche; 
And I pluck the golden roses 
By my lover I am forsaken, 
No tidings my ears awaken,' 

*' ' Art thou by a lover forsaken J 
No tidings your ears awaken ? 
In Zealand's vales he doth rest 
Where other fair dames have caressed him.* 

•* ' In Zealand's fields he doth rest him, 
Where other fair dames have caressed him. 
I pray that Heaven his guard may be 
Among those ladies fair and free.' 

*' What took he then from his arms so bold? 
A chain it was of red, red gold. 
• Fair child, this chain will I give you, 
Forget you the love who did leave you.' 

" * And were the chain but once so long 
That it hung from Heaven to earth along, 
Much rather I would it should fail me, 
Than love for another avail me. ' 

" But the blood of the knight was fiery too. 
'Fair child,' he cried, ' take heed what you do. 
You are my true and rightful wife. 
No other shall be my own for life.' " 



The last notes had not died away when Spinoza 
took his hat and departed. Olympia rose and 
closed the keyboard of the organ so that the pipes 
rattled together. With overflowing heart, thus in 
need of the sympathy of others, Spinoza had come 
to Olympia. There are times when those to whom 
temples of stone are closed must worship in the 
temple of a faithful human heart. 

The fate of Spinoza had thus directed him to seek 
happiness in himself alone. 

He might well have consoled himself in that 
there was now no necessity for him to bow the 
mind trained to truth alone to any form accepted 
by others, and be taught by daily labor and daily 
care to silence and conceal his convictions. He 
might well have comforted himself in that a love 
was annihilated with which he had so often strug- 
gled painfully; but it is ever an enigma of love 
that it longs for lost pain, lost desire. Bitterness 
and depression sought to seize on him, but in self- 
controlled wisdom he learned to impart to his mind 
ever more steadfastly that peace of mind which is 
freedom of mind, in that it submits to the necessity 
of events, and follows their laws as if the heart 
itself had no concern in them. That abandonment 
to a grief whose painful effects can be conquered 
by reason is partial suicide. He who would be free, 
that is, would live according to the laws of reason, 
must never cease to be; and he permits this, his 

wool NC BY PROXY. 425 

living eternal self-existence, to be interrupted, if 
he allows himself to be overwhelmed by his sensa- 
tions. Only a life according to reason is the true, 
eternal life. ^ 

It was a hard conflict, a breaking loose from all 
special pleasures and all flattering demands, which 
should at last lead him to the summit of pure in- 
tellect, and enable him to express this sentence, 
almost incomprehensible to us, which apparently 
despises the world, and yet glorifies it: 

" I would investigate the acts and efforts of men 
as though they were lines, planes or bodies." 

His friends observed Spinoza's victorious self- 
control with surprise and admiration. By free 
thought he had conquered life with all its casual- 
ties, and now in quiet peace of mind he might first 
call it really his own. 

No glory surrounded his head, but it illuminated 
his whole being. 



THE Jewish Church wished to follow up its 
excommunication with civic consequences, and 
petitioned the magistrates to banish the " Blas- 
phemer'* from the city. The affair was laid before 
the synod of the reformed ministry for decision, 
and the quiet thinker often found himself distract- 
ed from his investigations by citations and writs. 
With profound reflections on the regulation of the 
commonwealth, and the consumption of human 
material required by it, he often wandered through 
the long passages of the law courts, or sat waiting 
in the ante-rooms. The martyrdom of the modern 
world is composed of a long array of thousands of 
trifling annoyances, and our philosopher had yet 
more to experience. 

His friends pressed him to leave his native land 
of his own free will; he, however, maintained that 
for justice' sake he must submit himself to the 
judgment of the laws appealed to. It was Olden- 
burg's last act of friendship, when sent to England 
as the envoy of the Lower Saxon Union, to free his 
friend from these annoyances. He repeatedly en- 
treated Spinoza to follow him, but Spinoza wished 



to remain in his quiet seclusion in his native land. 
But he now prepared to leave Amsterdam, for, 
though he was free from all anger, he could not 
always suppress the sudden emotion which often 
agitated him so painfully at seeing himself sur- 
rounded by dislike and avoidance in his native 
place. It was more painful to him innocently to 
raise this feeling in others than to bear its conse- 
quences himself. 

The peculiarities of the friends showed them- 
selves in these discussions in a characteristic man- 
ner. Meyer found extreme pleasure in lashing the 
transgressions, the narrowness, the stupidity of 
men with his sharp satire. Oldenburg declined 
this means, because any violent opposition, all 
hand to hand conflict with the common herd, ap- 
peared to him unlovely and unclean ; and thus 
Spinoza and Oldenburg often agreed. What the 
other totally avoided from a certain feeling for 
harmony Spinoza reasoned out for himself on a 
foundation of knowledge. 

" The investigation of the incongruities and fail- 
ings of mankind," he said, "can only serve to teach 
us not to be carried away by controversy, but 
rather to quietly work out our own laws of action, 
and conquer the violence of our tempers in the 
shortest possible time. It is an illusion if men think 
to make themselves free and happy by finding out 
the deficiencies and deformities of others and va- 


riously remarking thereon. The recognition of 
virtue and its causes alone makes us satisfied and 
happy; in that alone can our hearts rejoice. The 
ambitious man speaks most willingly of the false 
reputations and base means of others; the ava- 
ricious spendthrift, of the misuse of money and 
the vices of the rich. He who loves truth does not 
dwell long on lies and obduracy; he combats them 
to the best of his ability, rejoices in his own ac- 
quired knowledge, and admits that those in error 
also act according to the necessities of their nature." 

" Happiness always lies on the other shore," 
added Oldenburg, " but on the other shore of con- 
quered hate, in the serene peace of knowledge." 

Meyer was nevertheless not so easily converted, 
and with the self-congratulation of having prophe- 
sied aright he asked: 

" In Olympia you have probably seen the want of 
character and merely receptive capacity of woman's 
nature, and will give this variety of humankind 
its suitable place in your system." 

"I know," replied Spinoza, "that he who is 
crossed in love thinks of nothing but the untrust- 
worthiness, the falsity and all the other oft-repeated 
defects of women; and all this he as quickly con- 
signs to oblivion- when he is again taken into favor 
by the beloved one. But whoever tries to regulate 
his sensations and desires only by his love of free- 
dom will endeavor to acquaint himself with their 


virtues and the causes thereof as thoroughly as 
possible, and to fill his mind with the joy which 
only springs from true knowledge. Whoever ob- 
serves this diligently — for it is not difficult — and 
then practises it, will best regulate his actions ac- 
cording to the law of reason." 

Thus the friends raised and animated each other 
in their penetration of the nature of intellect and 
investigation of its laws of action, and Spinoza had 
in his own life proof sufficient of the theory, which 
he maintained with irrefutable reasoning, that the 
passions alone disturb the universal well-being and 
the internal harmony of the individual; but reason 
reconciles them. 

This pleasant, lively intercourse was interrupted 
by Oldenburg's departure for England. Spinoza, 
Meyer and de Vries accompanied him to Schreyers- 
toren (the weeping gate), which takes its name from 
j:he tears of the deserted for the departure of their 
friends. With a heavy heart Spinoza tore himself 
from his friend's arms, and watched him sadly as 
the waves bore him away. Meyer and de Vries yet 
remained to him; but the one was too young to be 
wholly his friend, their age and experience were 
too unequal; the other was married. A hundred 
relations and circumstances make it impossible for 
a husband and father to devote himself to a friend 
with the same undivided attention. In Oldenburg 
he had lost his most faithful friend. 



As he returned alone over the Amstel bridge 
he met a funeral procession. Among the mourners 
he recognized his former master and fellow-work- 
men. One of them beckoned him to go with them; 
he joined the train and learned that they were 
bearing Peter Blyning to the grave. On the 
last harvest-home he had been at a dance with his 
comrades. His companions in jest sent all the 
girls to him, one after the other, to ask him to dance. 
He could hardly contain himself for rage and morti- 
fication; he poured wine and gin into a glass one 
after the other and drank them off. Then weeping 
bitterly he took his crutches and went out. Sud- 
denly a terrific shriek was heard and hey all 
hastened out. Peter having fallen down the steps 
and fractured his skull, lay there in his last agony. 

Spinoza followed the procession much moved. 
On the way he encountered Chisdai. When he 
came near him he saw Chisdai spit towards hin? 
three times and say the Hebrew words, *' But thou 
shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor 
it, for it is a cursed thing" (Deut. vii. 26). Spinoza 
took no notice, and, sunk in his own thoughts, ac- 
companied the corpse of the unhappy man to its 
last resting-place. 

That evening he received another agitating visit. 
Closely wrapped in his mantle de Silva came to 
him, and in a stern voice began without other greet- 


" It is not as the Jew that I come to you. He 
knows you no more. The physician stands before 
you; his calling is to help all, 10 advise without 
question whomsoever it may be. I counsel you, 
leave your native town; danger menaces you. Your 
heart is sick as long as you are here. No man can 
bear to wander among his own people, thrust forth 
from them like a corpse by those with whom he 
once lived in fellowship. I know you do not mean 
to insult those who take your continued stay as an 
insult. And one thing more. Ephraim Cardoso 
has joined another party of emigrants for Brazil. 
Chisdai wished to join them, but they refused him. 
No one will associate with him, he is avoided like 
one plague-stricken. No one will forgive him for 
being your accuser." 

"But I forgive him." 

" That does not help him, nor does it help you. 
I am afraid he broods over a dreadful deed, for he 
seldom leaves home in the daytime, but sneaks 
out at night. Let me warn you; I do it in kind- 
ness to you. Ay, I will recall my words, and say I 
come to you as a Jew. You have not scoffed at 
our religion before the Sanhedrim, you have spoken 
as beseemed a thinker. I myself will have naught 
to do with thought that is not founded on faith; 
but a Jew appeals to you; be just to us, as to others. 
You are more pious than you let yourself appear, 
than your reason permits you to confess." 


" Is faith then the only form of piety ?" 

*'I know, I know," continued Silva hastily. "I 
am not come to dispute with you. You may attrib- 
ute it to pride that I still ascribe piety to you. 
But when you left the synagogue forever you 
must have seen beside a seat of prayer, where once 
your father stood, a child, and that child prayed 
fervently, and that child was yourself. Forget it 
not. And you may know and keep it in remem- 
brance that a Jew, with sorrow in his heart, sees 
you set forth on your lonely way. Farewell !" 

Spinoza stretched out his hand to de Silva, but 
the latter only grasped that of the heretic with a 
mantle-covered hand, and went quickly away. 

This new circumstance deeply agitated Spinoza. 
It was news from a life that he had lost. He could 
not be forgotten yet. 

Soon, however, news of a death roused sincere 
sorrow in Spinoza's heart. It was the news that 
his teacher. Van den Ende, was executed in Paris. 
The always good-natured physician, who prized 
laughter as the highest good, had in action shown 
a devotion to his fatherland that no one would 
have expected from him. In order to prevent Louis 
XIV. from levying war on the United Provinces 
by a popular rising at home, he, with the Due de 
Rohan and others, had plotted an insurrection in 
Normandy. He paid for it with a death on the 




All the inhabitants of Amsterdam, indeed of the 
United Netherlands, gave a tender, and in some 
cases, remorseful thought to the departed. Many 
indeed maintained that the doctor wished to enjoy 
his greatest good wholesale; he wanted to laugh in 
chorus with all Europe at Louis XIV. driven hither 
and thither over the world's stage. But the under- 
taking of Van den Ende, and his self-sacrificing 
death, were too grave and impressive not to cut 
short such an explanation. 

Spinoza tried to explain to himself this astonish- 
ing turn in his teacher's life. That a lightly living 
nature might also be a lightly dying one is easily 
admissible; and even this neck-risking setting of 
his formerly squandered life on a single cast might 
be traceable to Van den Ende's character and 
theories. Still something remained inexplicable. 
Spinoza had mentally to excuse himself to his 
teacher; he had not expected so much from him. 

He felt obliged to offer Olympia his condolences. 
In the expression of his grief and recognition of 
the bold deed must lie his reparation. 

He examined himself severely, and felt he could 
say that only pure participation in the grief of his 
former love moved him to it; and in the even- 
ing he took the once familiar way to Van den 
Ende's dwelling. The house was silent and de- 
serted, and he learned from a neighbor that Olym- 
pia had accompanied her husband to Hamburg. 



As he passed the church of St. Olave's on his re- 
turn, there, where he had once passed the night on 
the steps, and gazed at Olympia's window, some one 
rushed at him, seized him by the arm, and stabbing 
him in the breast with a dagger, ran swiftly away, 
saying, " The ass hath horns." Spinoza had luckily 
escaped the stroke. Only his mantle was pierced. 
He thought he recognized the assassin. It was 

When the first involuntary shock and its imme- 
diate effects on his mind had passed, Spinoza only 
reflected that fanaticism is nothing but a return 
to a primeval law of nature, which is apparently 
founded on laws of mind and on the sacredness 
of law. The confused, hot-headed zeal which 
makes the internal law an external watchword has 
in all times cursed, crucified, burnt at the stake, and 
stabbed its enemies. It is worth while to reveal 
their innate laws to mankind, and lead them to love, 
and joy, and felicity. . . . 

He kept the torn mantle as a reminder to do it. 

Can we take this as a metaphor, that hatred and 
want of judgment only pierce the clothes of the 
wise, but cannot reach their inner self ? 

Spinoza did not hear that on the morning after 
the attempted crime a body was dragged from the 
Amstel. It was Chisdai's. He was buried un- 
mourned, as a suicide, like Uriel Acosta, whose 
grave he had insulted. 



No news of the Jewish congregation reached Spi- 
noza, and now he was prostrated by sickness. 

Thy free thought hath raised thee aloft into the 
infinite; above isolated appearance thou dost hover 
in the knowledge of universal laws, then suddenly 
thou art overthrown in an obscure chamber, dead 
to the world, the mind shattered, extinguished the 
streaming light from the law of the universe. No 
dagger stroke of the hand of man had reached 
Spinoza's heart, and yet he felt inexpressible pain 
in his breast, and blood flowed from his mouth. 

Was it the result of so many agitating events 
following one after the other, and that infirmity 
which had already attacked him in early youth, and 
recurred on the occasion of his preaching in the 
synagogue ? 

Spinoza lay in sore sickness. 

Now it was that Ludwig Meyer showed himself 
the faithful, helpful friend through day and night. 
And with his own gay humor he told his friend in 
quiet hours: 

"Now you are what you ought to be; indeed, 
more. You are a banished Jew and a bachelor. A 
bachelor can return again to that innocence of 
Paradise before woman was created. He stands 
alone and free. My original sin — you may laugh 
away — you will help me by it. Is it not of deep 
significance that as soon as a second being speaks 
to Adam he is no longer alone ? He no longer acts 


merely for himself. He must accommodate his 
actions to another's. Indeed, in the end he follows 
another's will. That is the fall; he did not act for 
himself, but for another. But the bachelor is like 
Adam in Paradise. You must remain the Adam of 
the mind." 

Spinoza smiled at his friend, and explained that 
man is not really free in solitude, but only in so- 
ciety. Ludwig Meyer often stood as if in prayer 
beside the bed of the philosopher, who in painless 
moments looked upon his illness as a circumstance 
foreign to his real being. Only once he spoke of 
the trials he had gone through, and extended an 
idea he had expressed before: 

" The heaviest burden that men can lay upon 
us is not that they persecute us with their own 
hatred, ingratitude and scorn; no, it is by planting 
hatred and scorn in our souls. That is what does 
not let us breathe freely nor see clearly. It is 
vanity and self-destruction to hate a man. We 
must only try to make the wrong action unavailing, 
and thus again obtain the love of God, in which 
the world is so peaceful and happy, and which fills 
us at all times with joy." 

He rose ever higher towards that serene height 
of contemplation, so that he might say of himself: 

"I have ever carefully striven with myself neither 
to despise, nor to blame, nor to detest human ac- 
tions, but to understand them. And likewise the 

SCARS AND purification: 437 

human sensations of love, hatred, envy, avarice and 
pity, and the other motive powers of the soul to 
regard them not as faults but as qualities of human 
nature, which belong to it as much as air, heat, 
cold, storm, thunder and the like are in the nature 
of the atmosphere, and which, if they are uncon- 
genial, are yet necessary, and have their ascertained 
causes through which we try to apprehend their 
nature, and in whose contemplation the mind is as 
much entertained as in apprehending the things 
that are agreeable to the imagination." 

Meyer could not abstain from plainly telling this 
investigator of truth his serious situation. For a 
short time, as if he already felt the sleep of 
death, Spinoza closed his eyes, while Meyer ex- 
plained to him that his symptoms were unmistak- 
ably those of consumption, and only careful and 
regular supervision of his life could lengthen his 
years. Silence reigned for a time, and Meyer 
watched the unmoved countenance of his friend, 
who still kept his eyes closed. Then the sick man 
arose, his eyes shone brightly, no sound of pain, no 
complaint parted his lips. With the peace of per- 
fected wisdom he decided on the rule of life which 
he would henceforward follow. And he stood erect 
while he declared that now, in reflection and self- 
knowledge alone should his life be ordered, in self- 
control should his existence be maintained, and in 
peace of mind it should be fulfilled. 


He kept his word. 

When full of years to contemplate death, to leave 
the world of sight and sensation, this is hard, and 
yet we may comfort ourselves in that we have run 
through our allotted space. But in the bloom of 
years, before the midday of life, to feel the seed 
of death within us, to fight it day by day, to watch 
each evidence of life, to miss the habitual quiet 
conviction that life will go on of itself, with careful 
forethought to keep the duty of existence at all 
times before our eyes, and thus to rejoice gayly 
and innocently in the sunn}' day, to work vigor- 
ously, aroused by no appeal from without, to find 
in his own thoughts the sacredness of life and its, 
joys — that man alone is capable of this to whom 
freedom and necessity, mortality and eternity, are 
one, who in wisdom has mounted the highest 
peak of existence. For wisdom is recognized har- 
mony with nature's laws, the fulfilment of duty, 
which, in recognition of and obedience to these, 
becomes inclination. 

Such wisdom was Spinoza's. 

The world, with its thousand contradictions and 
inconsistencies in individual manifestations, was in 
his mind dissolved into harmony. He had thrown 
off all selfishness, all measurement of things in their 
influence on individuals; his own life and its trials 
were lost in the whole. And in enjoyment of the 
knowledge of divine truth he lived the life eternal. 


"He was the" free man who can dare to say: 
"I forbear from evil, or strive to forbear from 
it, because it is in direct opposition to my special 
nature, and would divide me from the love and 
knowledge of God, which is the highest good." 

In everlasting, unalterable harmony, as the legend 
says of the gods, and as nature around is unchange- 
able, lived Benedict Spinoza. What he had attained 
to by knowledge became to him blissful habit. And 
as he had once planned life in his thoughts, his 
thoughts now gave him life. 


ONE night he saw a great vision. A man stood 
before him who was wonderful and strange to 
see. His head was covered with a broad hat whose 
color was as yellow as the grain beneath the sickle, 
and the hair of his head was white and flowed to his 
shoulders; on his brow was a sign of blood; his eyes 
lay hidden in their sockets overgrown with strag- 
gling hair. Two furrows reached from them to 
the corners of his mouth; in them his tears had 
once streamed, but now they were empty, for the 
spring was dried up. His white lips were over- 
grown with hair that reached to his girdle. A 
hair shirt flapped round his meagre body, and his 
feet were naked and cut. At his right side hung a 
pouch, and there also his robe was covered with a 
patch of the color of his hat. On his heart he car- 
ried a small roll in an iron case, fastened to a cord 
which hung round his neck and made a deep fur- 
row in his flesh. In his right hand he held a staff 
which reached high above his head. 

And the man bent over him, kissed him on the 
brow, and said: 

" Knowest thou me well, O thou my son, in 
whom I am well pleased ! Already more than six 


hundred times lias the sun fulfilled its course since 
the day when woe flowed over my head. I stood 
in my doorway and held my child in my arms. 
There they brought Jesus, son of Joseph and Mary 
of Nazareth, who called himself our Messiah. I 
hated him, for we loved the earth and he showed 
us the Heavens. We wished for a sword, and he 
taught us to love the foreign yoke. He was not 
our Messiah. When he would have rested on the 
threshold of my house, I spurned him with my foot 
and thrust him away. But he said, ' Come with me; 
thy foot which hath spurned me shall find no rest 
until the day when I return and found my kingdom 
upon earth.' The child fell from my arms. I fol- 
lowed him. I saw him die the death on the cross. 
I saw my house, I saw my children no more. They 
were scattered like chaff before the wind, or were 
devoured by the sword. Unstable and unsettled 
as Cain I wandered through forest and field, over 
stream and mountain. The flowers closed their 
petals before my eyes, the grass withered if my feet 
approached it, the birds became mute in the air, 
and the hungry lion, roaring as he came near, re- 
coiled in fright when he saw me. But the wild 
animals were merciful and kind compared with 
those whom I regarded as of my race. T wandered 
through town and country. They drowned me with 
wormwood and choked me with gall, they poured 
poison in my wounds and made my bed on thorns, 



and when I would have laid down my head to rest 
they made the ground tremble beneath me, and 
when I uplifted my complainings they stopped my 
mouth with fiery embers. In every place to which 
I directed my footsteps they seized me by the hair, 
collected wood in a pile, and thrust me into the 
flames; but Jehovah, the God of Israel, whose eter- 
nal Law I bore in my heart, sent his angel. And 
though the flames stretched out their devouring 
tongues towards me, he saved me; and though 
they shed my blood in streams, he raised me and 
animated me anew; and though they enveloped me 
in thick darkness, yet his light was kindled and 
shone clearly around me; and though they buried 
me in mouldering graves, his breath blew on me 
and breathed new life into me. Often I asked him, 
* When will it end, O Lord ? When wilt thou have 
mercy on me ? When wilt thou hold me in kindness 
again before thy countenance ? When wilt thou 
pour balm into my wounds ? When soften my tor- 
ments ? When wilt thou let me find rest ? When 
wilt thou turn hatred into love, that I may cease to 
be an abomination, and the mark of scorn unto atl 
nations? Why must I endure eternal- dying with- 
out death, an eternal death without life ? See, race 
after race have I seen fade and pass away like the 
grass of the field; kingdoms have I seen arise and 
crumble to dust before the breath of thy mouth. 
Everything rots and is brought forth anew; only I 


alone hang like the drops to a pail that tremble in 
the wind but do not fall. Where the bonds of ice 
hold the earth everlastingly chained, there I stood; 
and Arabia's hot sands burned the soles of my feet; 
and nowhere, nowhere a land where I might sow or 
reap, or where I might find a grave. Jerusalem 
the Glorious lies in ruins. When wilt thou rebuil! 
her ? When lead us back again ? Look down ! I 
say in the morning, Would that it Vv'ere eve; and in 
the evening. Would that it were morn. Look down! 
Trouble is my companion, shame and sorrow are 
my playfellows. I have won love from them. Give 
me tears, tears give me, that I may weep my misery. 
Wilt thou not take then thy hand from off me. Let 
mine enemies pierce the core of my soul, let me die, 
let me die. See, I have covered myself with hatred; 
let me take revenge on mine enemies, and ten times 
told over their heads^what they have done unto me. 
Speak to the thunder that it may shatter them; 
command thy lightning that it may devour the 
marrow of their bones; or give me a sword, a sword 
give me, that I may bathe myself in their blood. 
Or will the time come when Love and Faith 
shall meet, Justice and Peace kiss one another. 
Truth spring from the earth, Justice look down 
from Heaven ? * 

"See, my son, such were my complainings, such 
was my despair, such my hope ! Thou art come to 
be a Saviour to mankind, me too thou wilt save. 



Those who are of thy race have rejected thee, they 
have attempted thy life; those who are not of thy 
race have betrayed thee, they have embittered thy 
sweetest feeling. Thou knowest no anger, thou re- 
wardest them with the truth." 

The vision bent again over the sleeper and kissed 
him. It was a kiss of the dying Ahasuerus, who 
bore on himself the doom of that Israel which slew 
Jesus Christ on the Cross. 

Spinoza went to Rhynsberg, and from there to 
Voorburg and the Hague, and wrote the " Theo- 
logico-Political Tractate" and the '' Ethics." There, 
alone and deserted, he ended his days. The five 
books of the " Ethics" came out after his death. 

He died on February 21st, 1677, in his forty- 
fourth year. 

No thinker, arisen since Spinoza, has lived so 
much in the eternal as he did. 



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